Work to begin on creating plush riverside development at former South Shields docklands

Plans to make a key riverside regeneration site ready for development have been given the green light by South Tyneside councillors.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 5:44 pm

The borough’s Planning Committee have given unanimous backing to ‘enabling works’ at the Holborn site in South Shields.

To make the site viable for future development, South Tyneside Council applied to its own planning authority to ‘level’ the site and make it safe.

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An aerial view of the site which is earmarked for an ambitious new development

The works programme covers site clearance, major earthworks including infilling the large dry dock and the construction of new riverside structures to “create a landform for subsequent development.”

In addition, public realm works are also planned around three of the retained dry docks.

The application was discussed by South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday, August 31 at South Shields Town Hall.

Local authority planners recommended the application for approval and confirmed no objections had been lodged during public consultation.

An artist’s impression of the proposed housing for the Holborn site

According to a report prepared for councillors, around 26 trees ‘worthy of protection’ on site are set for removal due to the site clearance works.

However, proposals include off-site tree planting in the form of 52 trees and 500 whips to help mitigate this loss.

The committee report from council planners states that “an appropriate planning balance has been struck whereby the proposed level of replacement planting mitigates the proposed tree loss”.

It goes on to say: “In relation to trees, whilst the on-site losses are regrettable; they are expressly necessary and unavoidable in order to be able to undertake the proposed enabling works – both in terms of the land regrading being proposed and also to be able to carry out the required remediation of contaminated land and asbestos.

An artist’s impression of the proposed housing for the Holborn site

“However, a significant number of trees would be planted alongside other soft landscaping as proposed mitigation, both on and off-site; and where it would have linkages with wider ecological related mitigation.”

Councillors were told that the scheme was being funded through a mixture of council cash and external funding and that ecological mitigation would be put in place to reduce impacts on local species.

A planning condition was also added to ensure that noise from construction would not impact on proceedings at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Councillor Doreen Purvis, Planning Committee chair, said: “I think what we have to bear in mind is that whenever people start talking about development, there’s a natural reaction to protect green belt.

“And always it comes back to, well you should use brownfield sites. Well here we have an opportunity with a brownfield site.

“So you have to weigh up the cost of one against another, do you go for the brownfield site or do you start looking at green belt sites which people don’t want.

“So it is one of those difficult choices when we’re talking about enabling what could be a really good brownfield site that stops pushing into the green belt.”

Following discussion, councillors approved the enabling works which are required to start on site within the next three years.

Separate consents are also needed including a marine licence from the Marine Management Organisation and a river works licence from the Port of Tyne Authority.

However, a decision on housing plans for the site will be decided by South Tyneside Council at a future date.

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