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					                                                        REPORT TO CABINET
                                                        29 June 2004


TITLE OF REPORT: Future of former Textile Training Centre, Duncan Street,
                 Felling

REPORT OF:         Derek Quinn, Group Director, Development and Enterprise



                              EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The property, shown edged black on the attached plan, comprises a former Textile
Training Centre. It occupies a site of approximately 0.16 hectares. The property
was declared surplus to requirements in 1998 and has been vacant ever since. The
site was to be sold to Northumbria Sight Service to facilitate the development of a
sensory impairment centre. However, the charity has had to withdraw from the
sale due to lack of funding. The empty property has been subjected to numerous
break-ins and arson attacks, and is not considered capable of re-use.

The property lies within the NewcastleGateshead Housing Market Renewal
Pathfinder area. More specifically, it falls within the Sunderland Road Strategy
Area where a number of initiatives have been approved as part of the Gateshead
Pathfinder programme for 2003-2006. Demolition of the property would contribute
to Housing Market Renewal objectives by removing an empty property that
undermines confidence in the area. It should also eliminate the anti-social
behaviour associated with the property. The subsequent redevelopment of the
site to provide a combination of open space and residents’ parking is considered to
be the most appropriate long term use of the site, and would be consistent with
other environmental improvement schemes within the Sunderland Road Strategy
Area.

The cost of demolition is estimated to be in the region of £70,000 and will be met
in full by English Partnerships from funds available to the Council to support
Housing Market Renewal initiatives. It is envisaged that the subsequent works will
also be externally funded through resources available to the Gateshead Pathfinder
programme.


Policy Context

1.   The proposed course of action is consistent with the overall
     NewcastleGateshead Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder initiative, and the
     specific Gateshead Pathfinder programme for 2003-2006.

Consultation

2.   In preparing this report external consultations have been undertaken with
     English Partnerships who support the proposal.



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Implications

3.   The Strategic Director, Finance and ICT confirms that the demolition costs
     can be met from external funding sources, and so there are no direct cost
     implications for the Council arising from this report.

4.   Other implications arising from this report are set out in Appendix 1.

Recommendations

5.   The Cabinet is recommended to:-

     (i)        approve the demolition of the former Textile Training Centre, shown
                edged black on the attached plan.
     (ii)       authorise the Head of Property Services to obtain tenders for the
                demolition works.
     (iii)      authorise the Head of Design to prepare a preliminary scheme design
                for consultation with local residents, together with a budget cost
                estimate.

       For the following reason:

       To contribute towards the NewcastleGateshead Housing Market Renewal
       Pathfinder initiative.




CONTACT:        Helen Campbell extension 3492                      PLAN REF: 680
4QPBCA-160985
                                                                      APPENDIX 1

Background

1.     The property, shown edged black on the attached plan, comprises a former
       Textile Training Centre within what was once part of King Edward School. It
       occupies a site of approximately 0.16 hectares. The Training Centre closed in
       the late 1990’s and the property was declared surplus to Council
       requirements. Before the site could be offered for sale on the open market,
       interest was received from the charitable organisation Northumbria Sight
       Service, who wished to redevelop the site to create a sensory impairment
       centre. The sale to Northumbria Sight Service for the sum of £30,000 was
       approved by the Executive Committee on 25 September 2001. The sale was
       conditional upon the grant of planning permission and the charity securing
       requisite funding.

2.     Despite the Council agreeing to extend the original longstop date by which
       Northumbria Sight Service had to complete the purchase, they were unable to
       secure sufficient funding to proceed with the acquisition. They have now
       formally withdrawn from the transaction.

3.     The property lies within the NewcastleGateshead Housing Market Renewal
       Pathfinder area. The Gateshead Pathfinder programme for 2003/2006,
       approved by Cabinet on 2 March 2004, includes the demolition of eyesore
       and vacant property using resources from English Partnerships. The use or
       appearance of land and buildings can have an adverse impact on the
       amenity, appearance and confidence of the surrounding area. This in turn
       undermines the sustainability of residential neighbourhoods and causes blight
       over the surrounding housing areas. Clearing dilapidated and empty buildings
       will remove the appearance of dereliction and decline. It will also prevent anti-
       social behaviour such as arson and vandalism, which has been especially
       prevalent.

Proposal

4.     The present condition of the property is such that re-use for alternative uses is
       not considered financially viable. Instead, redevelopment of the site for a
       small housing scheme is likely to be the only use for which there might be
       interest if the property was offered for sale on the open market. However, this
       is not considered to be the most appropriate use of the site. It lies within the
       Sunderland Road Strategy Area, which is characterised by high density
       terraced housing, and a shortage of residents’ parking and open space. There
       are several approved Gateshead Pathfinder projects already which seek to
       tackle these issues and create a more attractive physical environment within
       the Sunderland Road area. Demolishing the building and retaining the site for
       a combination of open space and residents’ parking, would complement the
       existing initiatives and would be consistent with overall housing market
       renewal objectives.

5.     The cost of demolition, grubbing up the tarmac surface and grass seeding is
       estimated to be in the region of £70,000. However this cost is approximate
       and the demolition work will go out to tender to obtain a competitive price. The

4QPBCA-160985
       costs will be met in full by English Partnerships. A budget cost estimate for the
       open space/car-parking scheme will be identified once a preliminary scheme
       design has been prepared. It is envisaged these works will be externally
       funded either through Housing Market Renewal Funds or by English
       Partnerships.

Consultation

6.     In preparing this report, consultations have been undertaken with the Portfolio
       Holders for Housing and Development & Transport, and Bede Ward Members
       (Members of the new Bridges Ward had not been elected at the time this
       report was prepared).

7.     The views expressed are in accordance with the recommendation made.

Alternative Options

8.     The options of not demolishing the property, or offering the site for sale on the
       open market, have been rejected because they would undermine, and are
       inconsistent with, the NewcastleGateshead Housing Market Renewal
       Pathfinder initiative.

Implications of Recommended Option

9.     Equal Opportunities Implications - Nil

10.    Crime and Disorder Implications - demolition of the property will eliminate
       arson and vandalism attacks which have been prevalent at the property.

11.    Environmental Implications - demolition of the property and re-use of the
       site will lead to an overall improvement in the visual amenity of the area.

12.    Human Rights Implications - Nil

13.    Ward Implications - Bridges

Background Information

14.    None.




4QPBCA-160985

				
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