Seaham developer spots a gap in the market

Gurdeep (left) and Jaspal Bhondi pictured next to the shop in South Crescent, Seaham, which collapsed in March 2010
Gurdeep (left) and Jaspal Bhondi pictured next to the shop in South Crescent, Seaham, which collapsed in March 2010
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A GAPING hole left in a street after the shock collapse of a shop could soon be filled in after a developer submitted plans for the plot.

The building in South Terrace, Seaham, partially fell down during the early hours of one morning in March last year before the remainder of its upper floor tumbled the following day.

The collapsed building in South Terrace, Seaham, which has now fallen into a further pile of rubble

The collapsed building in South Terrace, Seaham, which has now fallen into a further pile of rubble

Now the void in the street could be finally filled under revised plans to repair and construct a retail unit and two flats above.

The application is a variation of a larger proposal approved three years ago to rebuild the corner, which leads on to Church Street, to create shops and a dozen flats.

No work has been carried out so far because the economic crisis slowed down the lending market.

The decision over the new plan has been delegated to planning officers at Durham County Council.

Owner Gurdeep Bhondi said the building, which dates back to the 1800s, collapsed because wood within its beams were rotten due to water leaking in for years.

He believes the new plan for the shop, which was once used to store old televisions, will see the building constructed to a higher standard and could change the look of the street.

It is the first phase of the scheme, which could be completed over the next five years, with the existing units to be replaced.

Mr Bhondi said: “This is an amendment and rather than leave this hole. We’re going to build that part up first.

“I’ve had a fair bit of interest in the units from an estate agent and all different things.

“A lot is being done to regenerate Seaham and this will be a part of that.

“It will change the look and skyline of the bottom of Church Street.”

Flats which have been created in a refit of the former Carlton Arms, on the corner of Vane Terrace and Castereagh Road, are also due to be let out by the businessman in coming weeks.

Mr Bhondi has also warned other building owners to check out the stability of their property to avoid the situation he was left in as he dealt with the aftermath of the former shop’s collapse.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham