Hundreds of homes and new store to be built on 'eyesore' former Hawthorn Leslie shipyard site in Hebburn after plans approved
Proposals for a massive housing development on a former shipyard site in South Tyneside have been given the stamp of approval.
The site was closed in the 1980s and its buildings were mothballed, with the site recently becoming a magnet for antisocial behaviour and deliberate fires.
Under new plans from Hebburn Riverside Developments Ltd, remaining buildings on the site will be demolished to make way for 446 new homes, with a mix of 407 apartments and 39 houses.
Apartments will be distributed across several blocks, with 12 studio apartments, 130 one-bedroom apartments and 265 two-bedroom apartments, as well as five three-bed houses, seven four-bed houses and 27 five-bed houses.
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.
During consultation on the plans, scheme supporters said the site was an “eyesore” and would benefit from development, including the delivery of new homes and wider economic benefits.
However the plans also sparked criticism with around 24 objection letters raising concerns about a range of issues, from the scale of the development to increased pressure on local schools and health services.
One objector A&P Tyne, the last remaining shipyard in operation on the River Tyne, based at Wagonway Road, Hebburn, opposed the scheme over fears it could jeopardise jobs and hamper future expansion plans.
This included concerns about the loss of employment land and potential future restrictions on A&P Tyne’s business operations due to noise complaints from future neighbours living in the apartments and houses.
Those behind the development insisted that the housing plan would not restrict any future expansion – with design changes being made to elements of the scheme to help safeguard the amenity of future residents.
Arguments for and against the housing plan were put forward at a planning hearing at South Shields Town Hall on Monday, September 5.
Representatives from A&P Tyne queried whether the site had been marketed effectively for employment uses and said the new housing came “at the expense of jobs”.
Elsewhere, scheme developers said the housing plan would boast eco-friendly features as well as creating apprenticeships, safeguarding existing habitats on site and bringing long-vacant land back into use.
Arguments were also made that the development of the former industrial site would lessen pressure for developments on the borough’s Green Belt.
South Tyneside Council planning officers deemed the housing scheme acceptable on balance and recommended it for approval, subject to conditions.
This included the completion of a section 106 agreement securing around £2million from developers towards primary school places in Hebburn and Jarrow, highways improvement works, ecology improvements and other matters.
While noting “disappointment” at the “low level” of affordable housing proposed due to “viability constraints”, council planners said the scheme’s benefits would not be outweighed by the “harm arising”.
During debate on the plans, councillor Wilf Flynn raised concerns about the level of affordable housing proposed, future noise complaints and the impact on A&P’s business operations.
Councillor Paul Dean raised concerns about the site’s accessibility and “drastic” levels, as well as asking whether the site would be served by buses.
Councillor Geraldine Kilgour also noted the large amount of development in the area and said that the developer Section 106 funds needed to “stay in Hebburn”.
Cllr Kilgour, moving approval of the application, added the development’s use of older employment land would help to “mitigate impact in our green areas”.
In response to questions from Planning Committee members, council officers confirmed the scheme’s viability case had been independently confirmed and the development would initially be able to support 1% affordable housing.
Council officers said measures had been taken to limit potential future noise complaints and that the scale of the scheme was not a planning issue, given larger developments on the other side of the River Tyne in Newcastle.
After being put to the vote, the planning application was approved by a majority of councillors, with Cllr Paul Dean and Cllr Wilf Flynn voting against.