Arson-hit former farm buildings to be demolished after being blighted by antisocial behaviour as IAMP plans take shape

Derelict farm buildings blighted by anti-social behaviour in South Tyneside are set to be demolished, following a decision by planning chiefs.

South Tyneside Council’s planning department has approved plans for the demolition of all buildings at Elliscope Farm off Follingsby Lane, in the West Boldon area.

This included the main farm house, barns and chicken coop, which sit within the wider footprint of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) development site.

The farm was acquired by the IAMP Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), established by Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council as part of a strategy to deliver the project, but has been left standing empty ahead of development.

Elliscope Farm, West Boldon

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The site also forms part of the IAMP TWO Development Consent Order (DCO)- the second phase of the business park development – which is currently under preparation.

According to a planning statement prepared for applicant IAMP LLP, the demolition of the farm buildings has “become increasingly urgent as a result of incidents of antisocial behaviour including vandalism and arson.”

The planning statement notes that IAMP LLP has appointed a security company to monitor the vacant buildings, with South Tyneside Council also procuring the installation of additional CCTV.

However, concerns remain about the remote nature of the property, the impact on Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service resources if a large-scale fire were to break out and an “unstable” farm track bridge which is blocked off to traffic, but still poses a “safety risk to pedestrians.”

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The planning statement reads: “In light of the above, IAMP LLP are concerned that the buildings remaining standing represents a significant risk of death or serious injury as a result of the anti-social behaviour being targeted at the property.

“IAMP LLP wish to negate the risk of serious incident by accelerating the proposed demolition of the farm buildings.”

It goes on to say: “The removal of [the farm] buildings within the Green Belt will not harm the Green Belt and hence there is no conflict with both national or local Green Belt planning policy. In fact, demolition of buildings will help to increase the openness of the Green Belt.”

After considering all representations, South Tyneside Council’s planning department approved the demolition application on August 3, 2021.

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Planners confirmed that the farm demolition would not prejudice this specific element of IAMP TWO through the emerging DCO process.

Ecological related mitigation measures, including a wildlife tower in a field to the south of the farm, were also agreed to reduce the impact on barn owls and bats.

A council decision report reads: “The proposal is considered to be compatible with green belt policy in that it removes buildings (that are no longer needed) from within it and where the proposed ecological mitigation measures that are to be provided (i.e. the tower and bird / bat boxes) will have a far lesser impact upon openness, relative to those buildings.

“Furthermore, and importantly, the proposed ecological mitigation measures are expressly necessary as a result of the demolition being proposed and in order to comply with ecological related policy considerations.”

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The plans are subject to a range of conditions to make sure no wildlife is harmed during the works and that the species present are maintained in the long-term.

Under one planning condition, ecological mitigation measures, including tree-mounted barn owl boxes, bat boxes and the wildlife tower, must be erected at least 30 days prior to any works starting on site.

Another condition also requires demolition work to be undertaken between September and November to “avoid the bat hibernation season and the main nesting bird season”.

For more information on the application, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal and search reference: ST/1013/20/FUL

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