South Shields seaside buildings to be demolished over safety fears
The sands of time could be running out for a former lifeguard station and a canoe store in which have been battered by coastal gales.
Council chiefs say the disused structures, at the bottom of steep steps leading to Marsden Beach, South Shields, pose a public danger and should be demolished.
They fear they are on the brink of collapse - putting walkers and holidaymakers at risk of injury.
The proposed project would also see a section of the Redwell Steps, which lead to the beach, being rebuilt in a scheme which could start in September but any cliff fall caused by initial works could see the project split into two phases, delaying reconstruction until April 2020.
Last January urgent repairs were done to repair the steps after their partial destruction by winter tides.
South Tyneside Council has now applied to its own planning team for permission to undertake the work.
An environmental screening report, which evaluates the likely impacts of a project or development, has been compiled on behalf of the Government’s Marine Management Organisation and the council.
Experts say: “The condition of the existing structures - canoe store, lower steps and the disused lifeguard station - has deteriorated and currently presents a risk to public safety from collapse.
“It is proposed these structures are removed and the lower step sections rebuilt to maintain access to Marsden Bay.
“These structures and associated foundations will be demolished and the area returned to a more natural coastline.”
Although a date for the work to start is undecided, it is expected to be after the 2019 summer holidays and the Great North Run.
It is envisaged the programme would take up to four weeks, but it may need to be done in two stages.
A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “The old lifeguard building at Marsden Bay has been closed for many years. Over this time, its condition has deteriorated and the building is at an increasing risk of collapse.
“It is proposed that this part of the coastline be returned to a more natural environment. .”
The old lifeguard building is owned by the National Trust and leased to South Tyneside Council.
Eric Wilton, General Manager for the National Trust South of Tyne said: “Despite works to repair the lower section of Redwell steps earlier this year, this area is susceptible to further and ongoing erosion.
“We are working with South Tyneside council to remove the deteriorated steps and building and will be replacing the access with a more sustainable solution to maintain access for the future.”