A village campaign group wants residents to have a greater say in the future of a pub which has been allowed to fall into a state of wrack and ruin.
Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum is hosting a workshop this Friday as it gathers together people to ensure they can air their views about what should happen to the Whitburn Lodge.
The bar closed six years ago. Its owners, Minel, had hoped to turn it into a wedding and events venue but were unable to push forward with the proposals.
Before Christmas, it put up notices stating it intended to demolish the derelict pub, which has been boarded up and has previously been used by criminals as a cannabis farm, but the idea was retracted when South Tyneside Council said planning permission would also be needed.
Related: Future of former pub site in spotlight after demolition notice and plans for sale withdrawn
That followed efforts to sell off the plot, with the property taken off the market weeks after it was put up for offer.
Read more: Landmark Whitburn Lodge up for sale six years after closing
The company has stated that it would like the land to be redeveloped for housing and hopes to get the site on the local plan which would forge the way for that.
This is now the opportunity for everyone in the village to have their say on what happens to the lodge.Phil Leaf
In view of that, the forum has suggested it could raise a Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO), which would mean a planning application could be granted without the need for a standard application and that a proposal has to be consulted on by the community and owners, with extra checks by council planners.
The NDO would be assessed by an independent examiner, who would check it conforms to correct national and local policies.
The forum said it would like the former pub, but particularly the 18th century Hope House, to remain, with a 19th century colliery manager’s office also on the land alongside the pub.
As it gathers together views on the idea and what people would like to see happen to the lodge, the group is holding a drop-in workshop on Friday, in the hall of Whitburn Methodist Church in North Guards, from 7pm to 9pm.
Phil Leaf, chairman of the forum, said: “If there is a majority vote in favour of the NDO in the referendum then it will come into force.
“So the workshop is the first step in the consultation with the community of Whitburn to decide on the future of Whitburn Lodge.
“There has been a lot of activity on the forum website and Facebook pages discussing what to do with the Whitburn Lodge.
“This is now the opportunity for everyone in the village to have their say on what happens to the lodge.”
The forum is also due to meet tomorrow at the church from 7pm, with ideas to also be discussed for the pub plot as well as draft policies. These are available to view via its website, as well as at the village barber.