Work starts on multimillion-pound Holborn scheme to transform derelict docklands into 'thriving riverside quarter' for South Shields

Work on a multi-million-pound regeneration scheme to transform derelict docklands into a new riverside in development South Shields is getting underway.

South Tyneside Council chiefs say the project at Holborn will transform the former brownfield site and disused docks into a ‘thriving riverside quarter’.

Work is beginning on Phase 1 of the residential element of the scheme, along with civil engineering works which council bosses say will prepare the wider nine-hectare site for future development.

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Cllr Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see work start on site on this scheme, following years of careful planning and preparation behind the scenes.

South Tyneside Council Leader Cllr Tracey Dixon with representatives from Keepmoat Homes, Cussins, and John F Hunt, marking the start of works on the Holborn development, South Shields.

“This is a challenging site that has lain largely derelict for many years; this project will maximise its potential.

“The dockland’s industrial heritage will be retained, and it will be transformed it into a vibrant location which people will be proud to call home, with culture and entertainment right on their doorstep."

She added: “Regenerating this area will create a stronger connection between the town centre and the riverside and increase the residential population, which will boost footfall and help sustain businesses and services.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our ambitious plans start to come to life.”

An aerial view of the Holborn site.
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Developers say these will be replaced within the new scheme.

Phase 1 of the development will consist of 48 family homes. Later phases will bring around 300 further one to four-bedroomed homes and apartments, delivered by Keepmoat Homes, working in partnership with Cussins.

To help meet local need, 15% of these will be affordable homes, delivered in partnership with the Bernicia Housing Group.

How the development could look.
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There will be a new riverside promenade, opening up access along the riverside to new and existing residents, as well as new offices occupying an Enterprise Zone to the north of the site.

Ian Prescott, Land & Partnerships Director at Keepmoat Homes said: “We’re delighted to start delivering the £62million residential element of this project in partnership with the Council and Cussins Homes.

“As well as providing over 300 new homes to the area, of which 15% will be affordable, the project will both create and safeguard around 1,500 construction jobs as part of our commitment to create a sustainable community.

"We have also pledged support to the local area to help generate training and employment through apprenticeships and work placements which we will deliver throughout the project. The completed scheme will bring in excess of 1,000 new residents into the area which will undoubtedly lead to a welcome boost to businesses in the nearby town centre.”

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How the development could look.

The site bears the hallmarks of its previous heavy industrial use, which are constraints to development.

The council said remediation works will include a new quay edge wall, re-grading of the site, decontamination of the ground and the raising of the former dry docks to overcome serious flooding issues. Three of the docks will be restored, preserving the area’s industrial heritage.

The site, which is currently split level, will be reprofiled to create a gentle slope from Commercial Road to the Tyne, making it more suitable for development.

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Dr Sam Hall, managing director of John F Hunt Regeneration, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by South Tyneside Council to undertake the remediation and enabling at the Holborn site.”

He added: “The works will be central to creating a sustainable and thriving residential area, in keeping with both nearby historic landmarks and the other new developments.”

The remediation work will be carried out in phases, with the ground and maritime improvements being completed in autumn 2023.

The scheme secured £1.85million from the Government’s Brownfield Land Release Fund to help deliver 250 of the new dwellings. It also benefits from £9.4million of funding to support delivery of new office space in the Enterprise Zone.

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