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WHITLEY BAY CHURCH: Plans for demolition of fire ravaged church lodged

WHITLEY BAY CHURCH: Plans for demolition of fire ravaged church lodged

Image: LDRS

The saga of a fire ravaged Whitley Bay church could soon be drawing to a close as plans for its demolition have been lodged.

Trinity United Reform Church, on Esplanade Place was badly damaged in a fire in May 2017.

Some weeks after the incident, a demolition team arrived in the area and fences were erected around the site.

Signs were put up warning people that demolition work would take place, however the building still remains standing

After a second blaze, last June, ward councillor John O’Shea called for it to be flattened, warning that it could result in deaths if the structure was allowed to remain standing.

Since then North Tyneside Council attempted legal action against the owner but this was appealed.

Housing plans for the site were thrown out after the developer refused to pay tens of thousands of pounds in Section 106 contributions required by the council.

Now, an application to demolish the building has been lodged with the council.

Coun O’Shea said: “It is fantastic news for local residents and businesses. I anticipate that it will be demolished in the next couple of months.

“I expect that it will be redeveloped for housing. I would welcome some development on the site.”

Plans for housing on the site were thrown out in July after the developer refused to agree its financial contribution to the borough.

The plans would have seen the derelict former place of worship bulldozed to make way for 28 flats.

Documents submitted to North Tyneside Council said the fenced-off building is “structurally unsound” and has become blighted by vandalism.

But the authority’s planning department recommended refusal for the application because the builder won’t commit to Section 106 conditions that would see it have to pay out £92,716 in total.

Section 106 (S106) Agreements are legal agreements between local authorities and developers; these are linked to planning permissions and can also be known as planning obligations.

Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter

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