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Eastern European workers living in former shipyard

North Tyneside Council is seeking a potential development partner to help maximise the potential of the Low Carbon Enterprise Zone at the former Swan Hunter shipyard site at Wallsend.

North Tyneside Council is seeking a potential development partner to help maximise the potential of the Low Carbon Enterprise Zone at the former Swan Hunter shipyard site at Wallsend.

DOZENS of Eastern European workers have been found living in inadequate accommodation at the former Swan Hunter yard.

The discovery was made following a routine inspection of the premises on the riverside by officials from North Tyneside Council and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

An estimated 60 workers, believed to be from Romania, were found in the council-owned building which was not adequate for sleeping purposes, despite being previously used for temporary employees working on the site.

The labourers were there as part of a 12-week contract from WD Close, with bosses at the engineering firm saying only 23 were in the accommodation block.

Dean Close, director of engineering, said: “WD Close and Sons employ 197 local people and we have done so for 30 years.

“We also employ temporary staff through an agency, 23 of which are Eastern European on a 12-week contract.

“There is a shortage of people here.”

Officials from both the council and the fire service are now working together to deal with the issues and seek solutions.

It is believed that some of the workers have been moved to other accommodation in the short term while the situation is resolved.

Bosses at WD Close have agreed to cover the costs of the improvements needed to the building.

A council spokesperson said: “WD Close has an appropriate tenancy agreement with North Tyneside Council which supports its successful and growing business on the former Swan Hunter site.

“The three buildings are subject to annual inspections by the council, as well as additional inspections outside this tenancy agreement, for example by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

“Following a recent inspection by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, the council was asked as landlord to undertake a number of minor improvements.

“WD Close has accepted financial responsibility for carrying out these improvements and the council has already begun to carry out the work required.

“It is expected this will be completed within the week.”

 

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