Children’s play centre could create up to 30 jobs

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PLANS to transform an empty industrial unit in Benton into a children’s play centre are set to create up to 30 jobs.

The proposals, by Mark Southall, of Killingworth, will see Round The Twist, a company set up to organise activities for youngsters, turn an empty industrial unit on the North Tyne Industrial Estate into a play centre.

The 20,000sq ft unit given the thumbs-up by North Tyneside Council’s planning committee will include a soft play area, go-kart track, function rooms, outdoor play area and café.

A 35-space car park will also be created.

The play centre is expected to cost almost £200,000 to set up.

The Bellingham Drive site is currently occupied by a warehouse unoccupied for several years.

During that time, the unit, also including office space, has frequently been broken into and vandalised and has also been used for fly-tipping, the meeting heard.

The council was handed a petition in support of the application signed by 24 people, the majority of them representatives of other businesses on the industrial estate.

In a separate letter of support, Coun Jim Allan, of Camperdown, said that the centre was to be welcomed as it would assist in the regeneration of the area and also create much-needed employment.

Despite being recommended for refusal by officers, the application was approved by every single member of the committee.

Coun Muriel Green, of Weetslade, said: “This is a site which has been empty for a number of years.

“We have an obligation to provide this sort of facility. It is an ideal place to put it.

“There is a lot of support from the surrounding businesses.”

Coun Lesley Spillard, of Battle Hill, added: “I think when we have got a vandalised building that has been empty for several years, it makes no sense to let it deteriorate when we can create jobs.”