Concerns raised in Parliament over 'eyesore' former South Shields hotel in Lawe Road as site sits undeveloped five years on
Concerns over a seemingly stalled hotel development site have reached Parliament.
Plans for a 43-room hotel at the site of the former Park Hotel on the corner of Lawe Road and Ocean Road in South Shields were approved in 2017.
Scaffolding went up soon after, and by 2018 the building was gutted, with only its exterior walls left standing.
But five years since the planning application was granted, the building remains an empty shell, caged off, with patches of weeds sprouting inside, and a works cabin daubed with graffiti.
No building work appears to have been carried out since the building was gutted, and it has sparked concerns from people living in the area.
The structure abuts neighbouring properties, and sits on a prominent spot near the seafront and marine parks.
The council added at the time it had been in contact with the developer was still planning to complete the project, and stressed the benefits it would bring to the town.
She called the the ‘large, privately owned building’ an ‘eyesore’ and said there were safety concerns, though South Tyneside Council has subsequently given assurances the site was safe.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Lewell-Buck said: “Brian Walker, who lives nearby, asked the Health and Safety Executive to come and assess the building, but the HSE advised that, because people are not working on the building, there is nothing it can do.
"The council is also completely powerless to act. Can the Leader of the House explain why, under this Government, private developers are allowed to treat local communities in this way?”
Mark Spencer, Leader of the House of Commons, replied: “Clearly there are planning regulations in place, and I do not know whether they apply to long-term scaffolding.
"Her constituent, Mr Walker, clearly has concerns about the building, and I will pass on the hon. Lady’s comments to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to make sure he is aware of her concerns.
She is right to highlight the building today.”
The exchange took place during a “Business of the House” session in Parliament on March 10.
After the exchange, a spokesman for South Tyneside Council said in a statement that the council has been in recent discussions with the property owner, and stressed the building and scaffolding were not in a dangerous state.
It reads: “We have recently inspected the property. The overall condition of the building is not unsafe and the scaffolding is currently sound.
“We will continue to monitor the site for safety and access.
“Over recent weeks the council have been able to open a dialogue with the property owner and have discussed the development of the site in moving forward.
“We will also continue to work with residents as to any emerging concerns.”