Hundreds of homes could be built at shipyard

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A FORMER shipyard could be given a new lease of life if plans to build more than 800 homes there get the go-ahead.

An outline application for planning consent for new houses, business premises and shops at Smith’s Dock in North Shields has been submitted to North Tyneside Council.

The developer behind the ambitious plans, Places for People, plans to invest £140m in the 11.8-hectare site.

It also proposes creating public areas such as a waterfront park and building cycle paths along the river bank to help connect the development to neighbouring communities at Royal Quays and North Shields Fish Quay.

Community groups, the council and borough businesses have been involved in developing the proposals, and their views have helped to shape the final version of the outline application.

Project director Nigel Brewer said: “The planning application marks an important new phase in the history of Smith’s Dock.

“This is the start of its revival, and the site will, once again, become a destination for local people to live, work and socialise.

“Over the coming years, the redevelopment of Smith’s Dock will generate hundreds of new jobs and apprenticeships, as well as training opportunities for young people.

“However, the economic benefits of this site will inevitably extend into the wider North Tyneside region.

“This truly special site, with its rich history, demands an equally special, iconic design that makes the most of the unique location.

“We will create an exciting new development that will transform this former industrial area into a fantastic asset for North Shields, as it was in the past.”

Smith’s Dock opened in 1851 and was a major player in the north east’s shipbuilding industry for decades.

Originally established by William Smith and Co and later taken over by Swan Hunter, it continued in use as a ship repair yard into the 1990s.

Since then, the site has become derelict, but Places for People has invested around £20m in preparatory works to clean it up since taking ownership of it in 2007.

That work has included filling in three of the original six dock structures, retaining one wet dock and two dry docks.

In addition, new roads and a roundabout have been built to allow public transport access to the site and along the quayside towards the Fish Quay and Tynemouth.