Major firms bid in competition for mixed-use scheme on 17.4 ha former colliery.
Five UK housebuilders are in the race to build a showcase urban village at the former Westoe Colliery site in South Shields, Tyneside.

Teams led by Miller Homes and Alfred McAlpine Homes, a Barratt Homes/Persimmon Homes joint venture and Bryant Homes were among about a dozen entries submitted by Monday's deadline. The competition is being run by English Partnerships and the Urban Villages Forum.

The project attracted a huge amount of interest from developers, with 350 requests for competition briefs. One consortium member said the site's location gave it excellent development potential. "You can't find housing land for love nor money in South Tyneside. They can sell anything they build," he said.

Among the five teams, Miller is working with architect Terry Farrell and Partners, and Alfred McAlpine has teamed up with masterplanner and landscape architect Derek Lovejoy Partnership. The Barratt/Persimmon consortium has teamed up with two architects, HTA Architects and Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall Architects.

The two-stage competition to develop an urban village on the 17.4 ha former Westoe Colliery is part of English Partnerships' £347m coalfield regeneration programme. This was launched when English Partnerships bought 56 English coalfields from British Coal in 1997.

The first stage of the competition called on consortia to prepare comprehensive masterplans for a mixed-use development.It said the project should include residential and commercial developments, including a 2.4 ha community school, with adjoining nursery and playing field.

You can’t find housing land for love nor money in South Tyneside. They can sell anything they build

Consortium member

The residential development should provide for a range of tenures, according to the brief. It suggests that about 15% of the units be kept as affordable homes, and that there is an appropriate mix of types and sizes. One consortium member estimated that the site could accommodate up to 750 residential units.

English Partnerships and the Urban Villages Forum want a village characterised by "high-quality architecture and urban design, with the creation of streets and a highly permeable street network to create an integrated, safe, sustainable and exciting urban area".

The competition entries will also be judged on energy-efficient design, use of renewable materials, innovative construction methods and maintenance requirements.

A shortlist of up to six consortia will be drawn up by the end of April. At this stage, the teams will be invited to submit proposals that are fully costed and market tested, as well as providing details of marketing and implementation programmes.

The site is situated to the east of South Shields, with dramatic views of the North Sea. English Partnerships is paying for the clean-up operation on the Westcoe Colliery, which closed in 1993. The site has two capped mineshafts and an electricity substation on its northern boundary.