South Shields community centre to be demolished to make way for home

A former community centre in South Tyneside is set to be bulldozed to make way for a family home.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 6:24 pm

The St Simon’s Community Project building sits off Wenlock Road in the Simonside and Rekendyke ward.

According to planning documents, the building has been vacant for several years and is now in a “poor condition.”

In November 2020, a planning application was lodged with South Tyneside Council to demolish the building to redevelop the site for a residential use.

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The former St Simon’s Community Project building.

This included a two-and-a-half-storey detached home set within landscaped gardens offering a traditional pitched roof.

Plans also aimed to retain surrounding mature trees and existing stone boundary walls.

During consultation, applicants provided several documents making the case for the scheme.

A heritage statement said the proposed development would “remove a redundant building which has no aesthetic value which detracts from the surrounding setting of heritage asset [St.Simon’s Church].”

It added the family home would be a “positive addition to the area and the surrounding residential properties.”

After considering representations, South Tyneside Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead to the plans on April 28, 2021.

The heritage statement from the applicant added the scheme would “make a positive contribution to achieving sustainable local communities and local economic vitality for the public benefit.”

At the same time, the statement went on to say, the housing plan would “maintain and preserve the local character, setting and distinctiveness” of the grade-II listed church nearby.

St Simon’s Community Project originally provided a job search facility for local unemployed residents who could use it as a drop-in for their needs, including producing CVs and using telephones.

As previously reported, the privately-owned building closed in 2016 as the community project had no cash to carry out necessary repairs.

Subsequent uses for the space have included a stage school alongside a coffee shop and community classes.

Following the planning decision this month, permission has been granted to remove the building for good.

Under planning conditions, work must start on the development within the next three years.

For more information on the planning application, visit South Tyneside Council’s planning portal and search reference: ST/0912/20/FUL

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