In its current form, the South Tyneside Draft Local Plan could pave the way for more than 5,000 new homes across the borough by 2039.
The document is intended to provide a framework for where residential properties as well as new business and leisure facilities could be built, as well as infrastructure, such as roads and schools.
And last night (Wednesday, June 15), South Tyneside Council's ruling cabinet gave the go-ahead to start the latest round of public consultation on the project.
After being taken back to the drawing board in 2021, the new document now identifies 60 sites with development potential.
Building work is expected to be prioritised in South Shields, Hebburn and Jarrow across 40 sites encompassing more than 1,700 homes, as well as other areas in the borough.
Some of the larger brownfield sites proposed include the former Brinkburn Comprehensive School, land at the former Chuter Ede Education Centre, land at Cleadon Lane Industrial Estate and the “site of former South Tyneside College – South Shields Campus.”
The revised Local Plan also proposes to "redraw” the Green Belt to allocate “urban and village sustainable growth areas” at 12 sites across Whitburn, Cleadon, East Boldon, West Boldon and Wardley, to deliver around 1,862 homes.
Elsewhere, a large site south of Fellgate has been identified which could provide space for up to 1,200 homes and a new “sustainable urban growth area”.
The housing allocation sites are anticipated to deliver around 5,182 homes in total, with housing assessments concluding a minimum of 321 new homes are needed every year between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2039.
The latest ‘Regulation 18’ draft is one of several formal stages that a Local Plan must pass through, prior to formal adoption.
Following cabinet approval at South Shields Town Hall this week, the consultation will begin on Monday, June 20.
Over the six-week period, information events will be held at locations across the borough.
Cllr Margaret Meling, cabinet member for economic growth, skills and climate change, told cabinet the borough’s current development policy is “significantly out of date” and that faillure to renew it could see the government “step in and take control”, leaving the council with “reputational damage and a financial burden, as well as the loss of the community voice”.
Council chiefs have said brownfield land which has previously been built on would be prioritised for development.
But they also warned the borough faces an “acute undersupply of suitable land from non-Greenbelt sources”.
Cllr Meling added: “The local plan is something for everyone to be involved in, we need to take residents and businesses on this journey with us to explain the kind of place South Tyneside will be in 2039 and how we’re going to achieve that.
“Consultation is the key, the public may tell us issues we might not be aware of in some areas.”
Senior councillors urged the public to engage with the consultation and have their say.
Visit the council’s website for more details of the Local Plan and consultation.