Scandal-hit South Shields care home set to become houses – despite ‘bedsit land’ fears

Kerry Brown of Browns Lettings at St Michael's View
Kerry Brown of Browns Lettings at St Michael's View

A PLAN to convert a former South Tyneside care home into self-contained houses is set to be approved today despite fears it could create a new ‘bedsit land’.

Browns Letting Agency in South Shields has submitted a planning application to change the scandal-hit St Michael’s View, in the town’s Westoe area, into a house of multiple occupation.

The plan is to section off the building to create eight separate houses each offering between four and 11 bedrooms.

But neighbours fear tenants they would regard as undesirable elements could move into the complex.

They have also expressed concern at potential parking issues resulting from as many as 80 residents moving into the property.

Applicant Kerry Brown has responded by saying the premises would be run the same way as the company’s other house in multiple occupation, Wyvestow Lodge, in nearby Sunderland Road.

People living there are either in employment, mature students or retired, she says.

The application has also been amended to increase the number of car parking spaces on site from 15 to 27.

South Tyneside Council’s planning committee is being recommended to approve the conversion.

A report to the committee’s meeting today says: “Given that, in this particular case, the building is detached and set within its grounds, it is considered that the proposal is compatible with surrounding uses that are predominantly residential.”

The former care home had a troubled history.

The complex, closed in October 2013, was the centre of a long-running police investigation after the death of resident Joyce Wordingham, 80, in February 2010.

Officers also investigated the deaths of 15 other residents at the home, run by the now-defunct Southern Cross at the time.

Some care staff were prosecuted, and others faced disciplinary measures.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul