Hawthorn Leslie housing plans: Decision date set for 446-home development on site of 'eyesore' arson-hit former shipyard site in Hebburn

Plans for hundreds of new homes on a former South Tyneside shipyard site are due to go before councillors for decision next week.

The Hawthorn Leslie yard in Hebburn closed in the 1980s and its buildings were mothballed, with the site since becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour and deliberate fires.

In recent years, the site has been largely cleared of buildings with remaining properties visible at the south east corner adjacent to Ellison Street.

Under new proposals from Hebburn Riverside Developments Ltd, the last buildings on site would be pulled down to make way for 446 new homes, with a mix of one, two, three, four and five-bedroom properties.

The aftermath of a fire at former Hawthorn Leslie office buildings in Ellison Street, Hebburn.

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One apartment block adjacent to the River Tyne would be 11 storeys in height accommodating 90 apartments together with a restaurant on the ground floor.

Plans also include a retail convenience store, indoor community meeting space, a multi-storey car park, grassed communal open space areas and a new vehicular access.

A full planning application for the scheme will go before South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee for decision on September 5, 2022.

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The former Hawthorn Leslie shipyard at Hebburn pictured in 2005.

During consultation on the housing plan, around 24 objection letters were submitted to local authority planners raising a number of concerns about the development.

These included “overdevelopment” fears, the scale of development and potential overshadowing from larger apartment blocks, air pollution, increased traffic and pressures on parking, local schools and health services.

Objector A&P Tyne, the last remaining shipyard in operation on the River Tyne, based at Wagonway Road, Hebburn, previously said it would oppose the scheme over fears it could jeopardise jobs.

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A previously released CGI of how the new development might look.

However, those behind the development have insisted the housing plan would not restrict any future expansion plans of A&P – with layout changes being made to some apartment blocks so “no habitable rooms or windows face onto the boundary with A&P”, a council report states.

Elsewhere, comments in four supporting letters claimed the vacant former shipyard site was an “eyesore” and would benefit from development, with the plans improving the scenery of the River Tyne and boosting the local economy.

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Council planning officers have deemed the scheme acceptable and recommended it for approval, subject to conditions being met and highways mitigation works being approved by National Highways.

Council planners, in a report, said the loss of the “relatively small employment site from the council’s portfolio of employment land” was “not considered to outweigh the very substantial need for new housing in the borough”.

A previously released CGI of how the new development might look.

While noting “disappointment” at the “low level” of affordable housing proposed by developers due to “viability constraints”, council planners said the benefits of the proposal would not be outweighed by the “harm arising”.

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If planning permission is granted, the approval will be subject to a Section 106 legal agreement securing large sums of developer cash to be used for education, highways and other matters.

This includes a potential education contribution of around £996,740 to “provide primary school places in the Jarrow or Hebburn area”, as well as contributions to off-site play provision and measures to boost biodiversity.

In terms of highway mitigation works, funding is being sought to improve the A19/A185 Jarrow Junction, A184/A194 Whitemare Pool junction and the A185/Mill Lane junction and for works on Lyon Street and Ellison Street to improve provision for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users.

A report prepared for the Planning Committee adds: “The provision of 446 dwellings on this site would contribute significantly to addressing the council’s lack of a five-year housing land supply and boosting the supply of new homes would be beneficial in terms of bringing a site which has been derelict and vacant for many years back into use and would also be beneficial in economic terms.

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“Harm is considered to arise given the low level of affordable housing provision and the loss of employment land but other harm arising can be addressed through conditions and the proposed Section 106 agreement”.

The final say on the housing plan rests with members of the Planning Committee who will next meet on Monday, September 5 at South Shields Town Hall.

The decision-making meeting is scheduled to start at 2pm and will be open to the public.