Seems South Tyneside Council’s obsession for hotels is set to continue.
Mr Monkey has learned that senior councillors and officers are holding secret discussions with potential developers who would like to build on Harton Staithes.
This last remaining green space in South Shields Town Centre is about to disappear forever after councillors approved a strategic partnership with BT. The deal calls for BT to build a business centre on Harton Staithes after the council failed to evict all it’s tenants in Wouldhalve House and the retail units below.
Like Garlands, BT wanted a riverside location and as usual the council agreed to bend over and let big business shaft the people of the borough yet again. They even voluntered to apply the lube to make things as easy as possible!
Mr Monkey can confirm that 5 developers have been shortlisted from a list of 16 and that detailed discussions are now underway. The development brief not only includes a mega business centre for BT but it also now includes a hotel and several other commercial units.
Although the council and One North East are not in a position to confirm who their preferred developer is, allegedly, Mr Monkey predicts that it is likely to be the Esh Group who have suddenly appeared on the scene.
Mr Monkey wonders what Durham Estates and Tavistock Leisure think about the council’s latest hotel plans? This time last year they were flavour of the month when they were appointed preferred developers for the Gypsies Green Stadium hotel and conference centre.
Unfortunately they didn’t count on the level of opposition which ultimately led to one of Council Leader, Iain Malcolm’s ward colleagues losing his seat and Mr Monkey has learned that he is concerned that history may repeat itself.
Mr Monkey believes Iain Malcolm’s sudden lack of interest in Gypsies Green in favour of another hotel located on the riverside has more to do with self interest than the interests of the people of South Tyneside and if his former associates at Durham Estates fall by the wayside .. so be it!