Campaigners still fighting to save South Shields park after plans submitted for Holborn Riverside development

Campaigners have promised to keep fighting after controversial plans to build over a park were included in a planning application for a major development on South Shields’ riverside.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 1:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 9:47 am

But after an application to begin construction was formally registered with South Tyneside Council, opponents have insisted they will keep pressing for a change to preserve the site.

“This development is really unpopular,” said mum-of-three Leyla Al-Sayadi, who began a drive to raise awareness of the proposals in 2020.

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An artist’s impression of the proposed housing for the Holborn site

“We want some of the houses to be built anywhere other than that field, although in an ideal world, none of them would be built there.

“This is going to restrict views [from the existing houses] and restrict access to the new houses, which is not something we want – we want it to be as clean and clear as possible.”

Developer Keepmoat Homes confirmed on February 26 it had submitted the plans to the local authority.

If the scheme is given the green light, it would pave the way for at least 350 houses, new offices and the renovation of former shipyard docks in the area.

An aerial view of the site which is earmarked for an ambitious new development

But families have been angered by proposals for homes to be built on existing green space and a park between Laygate Street and Commercial Road.

Keepmoat has claimed the loss of potential income as a result of preserving the site would mean it was not financially viable.

Ian Prescott, the firm’s North East land and partnerships director, said: “The Holborn docks have lain derelict for several decades with major viability challenges having prevented previous proposals from developers and the Council coming to fruition.

“Having been selected as preferred developers last year (2020), after the council held an extensive marketing exercise, we have worked jointly with the council in an open and transparent way on the costs of the scheme to achieve proposals that can be delivered.

The old docks at the Holborn site

“We have sought to address local residents’ concerns and included a replacement play park in our proposals and the council is committed to improving open space in close proximity of the site.”

Visit www.facebook.com/groups/saveholbornriversidefield to find out more about the campaign to preserve the site.

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The grass area and park, between Commercial Road and Laygate Street. Credit: Haleema Miah
An artist’s impression of the proposed housing for the Holborn site
Residents objections' to housing development proposals in the Holborn area
Residents objections' to housing development proposals in the Holborn area
Housing development proposals in the Holborn area have caused alarm.