Plans for new care facility with up to 80 beds on former South Shields cinema and bingo hall site
The adult care accommodation project, which would include development of the Dean Road site that used to house the Regent Cinema and Mecca Bingo, could hold between 60 and 80 beds.
The planned Westoe scheme makes specific provisions for dementia support, residents living with the condition and support provided to help them live independently.
Also included in the proposals are an on-site care provider and 24/7 support service.
Plans had previously been submitted at the site in 2016 to convert the former bingo hall into several dozen apartments.
Councillor Glenn Thompson, who represents the Westoe ward on South Tyneside Council, said the new social care project would be beneficial to the wider South Tyneside area in a number of respects.
The proposals are to enter the planning phase which will involve a public consultation later this year, with work on the project hoped to begin in early 2023.
Cllr Thompson said the proposals “will benefit Westoe, South Shields and the borough.
"It’s early days - but it’s a project that has obvious benefits around adult social care, extra care and, specifically, dementia care. It will also bring increased footfall to the Westoe area.
"Overall, I can only see massive positives with this development.”
Extra care refers to an in-house dementia unit included in the plans. Such a unit is designed to be in place for residents in the event their condition worsens, preventing them from having to be moved elsewhere to receive more specialised care.
The local ‘Save the Regent' campaign group wants the old movie house building’s facade to be retained as part of the development in order to preserve what it considers to be an important part of the area’s cultural heritage.
In making its case to hold on to the structure, the group has told the local authority: “This unique and prominent icon is one of only a few remaining 1930s super cinema buildings in the North East and must be saved from the wrecking ball.”
The borough council says the Dean Road scheme forms part of a broader adult social care strategy it is looking to implement in the area.
“The Council is currently developing proposals for additional high-quality supported-living accommodation, with the Dean Road site being one of a number of locations identified for new ‘Extra Care’ schemes to be built across South Tyneside over the next five years,” a council spokesperson said.
“The schemes form part of the Council’s wider Adult Social Care Accommodation Strategy, which aims to support those residents who may need extra help to live independently in the community, rather than in residential care, while better meeting the long-term needs and aspirations of older people and adults with additional care needs.
“We continue to work on the detailed proposals for the Dean Road scheme which will have specific provision for people with dementia. Once finalised, the proposals will be subject to the planning process later in the year.”