New use wanted for South Shields call centre
What should we do with this magnificent building?
Superb riverside development, with one previous owner, 47000 sq. feet of prime office space, fully kitted out with the latest telecommunications equipment, car parking adjoining, now redundant and available from administrators Pricewaterhouse-Cooper.
We need to remember that for now the call centre on Wapping Street/Long Row, South Shields is assumed to be a fixed asset of C J Garlands now in administration, and ultimately it is for the administrator to realise the value of this asset on behalf of Garland’s creditors. Assuming that Pricewaterhouse-Cooper finds a new owner for the building any change of use would need to be approved by the local planning authority after suitable consultation with local residents.
Cllr. Ahmed Khan and other have suggested, very reasonably, that it might make a good home for BT South Tyneside rather than having to expend £30m of tax payer’s cash on a purpose built site at Harton Staithes, however BT have said they are not interested in taking over the former Garland’s site. They would prefer to go ahead and cause some upset by erecting a building that will reduce our relatively new found views of the River Tyne.
Conversion to a hotel/conference facility is also probably an option but because of the design of the buildings with large open areas and huge windows facing on to the river, conversion costs would be huge.
So the question remains, what would we, the people of South Shields like to see this building used as?
It could be well suited for educational or training purposes with minimal adjustments and would help to add skills needed for future employers, or it could be readily adapted for commercial letting of office space on the upper floors with a high quality restaurant on the ground floor, or even a small restaurant and shop units on the ground floor. Another idea that I had was to house a Museum for Maritime Heritage bringing together many of the collections related to the River Tyne which are currently held in various locations by the Tyne Wear Museum service (although this would be another consumer of cash, rather than a cash generator in tough economic times).
What ideas do you have?