Network Extension to Boost Carbon Savings
Significant expansion of a pioneering renewable energy network is part of a package of green investments designed to create a truly sustainable mid-Tyne.
The innovative Hebburn Minewater scheme, which draws geothermal energy from abandoned flooded mines, would be extended as part of South Tyneside Council's £20m Levelling Up bid to develop a low carbon Hebburn and Jarrow.
If successful in attracting the vital cash boost, the extension of the groundbreaking project would cut an estimated 460 tonnes of carbon per year - more than doubling the original annual saving of 319 tonnes. Three local schools, two NHS facilities and a community hub would benefit from renewable and affordable heat, helping to deliver on Net Zero and energy security.
The expansion would be complemented by substantial restoration of Jarrow Hall and the Bede Museum to create an immersive visitor experience and significantly boost visitor numbers.
Jarrow Hall's entrance and facilities would be transformed and there would be investment in new cultural learning, business pods for heritage and cultural freelancers and expansion of its green energy programmes. Electric vehicle infrastructure would be installed, which alongside other measures would enhance the environmental performance of the site, reducing carbon emissions.
Investment would also enable increased engagement with local schools and colleges, and young people with special educational needs.
The third element of the package would be series of green interventions in Hebburn town centre to boost footfall and vibrancy, including new public green space, sports pitches and a new glazed canopy over the open-air shopping experience, enabling outdoor seating and food and cultural events.
A 'Levelling Up in Practice' report published by thinktank Onward last month, stated that the borough is leading the way on green energy. It said: 'South Tyneside's past was dominated by industry...But the future of South Tyneside lies in the green economy. The council is leading the way on geothermal as a way to generate energy, pumping water around former mining shafts deep underground to capture heat which is then distributed through nearby homes. The challenge in South Tyneside is providing a bridge from the old to the new.'
Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "This is a package of investments that capitalises on the area's history and heritage to safeguard the future of Hebburn and Jarrow.
"It will build upon our expertise in renewable energy and our pioneering role in green innovation to boost the vibrancy and sustainability of both towns.
"In Jarrow and Hebburn we have two highly-innovative renewable energy schemes - one of which is the first of its kind in the country.
"We are already leading the way in low carbon innovation, but we need further investment to continue to nurture our expertise and ensure that our residents can take full advantage of the opportunities being created."
Council-owned Jarrow Hall is operated by Groundwork.
Andrew Watts, CEO of Groundwork, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to transform Jarrow Hall to become an educational hub for low carbon and sustainability for the local community, as well as creating a real focus on growing the visitor economy, building on the heritage of Jarrow and Hebburn, with a particular focus on the Anglo-Saxons and Saint Bede at Jarrow Hall.
"The package bid demonstrates the strength of partnership working and green innovation across South Tyneside to improve the whole area and sites such as Jarrow Hall for our residents and visitors."
The bid has received the support of MP for Jarrow, Kate Osborne.
She said: "Our constituency has an incredible history, and the levelling up bid aims to boost pride in our industrial heritage whilst paving the way for a greener future.
"Further to ensuring a greener future for the constituency, this levelling up bid also aims to provide transformational investment in Jarrow Hall and the Bede Museum which will be used to attract visitors from outside of our communities so we can share our rich history and culture whilst improving our local economy.
"Investment into Jarrow Hall will improve the facilities available meaning there will be more capacity to host travelling exhibitions as well as support and work with children and young people with SEND. Our constituency is often known solely for the famous Jarrow March, and whilst I am so proud of that - I feel it is important that we uplift and celebrate all of our historic assets equally and this funding will allow us to do that more so.
"Regional inequality continues to worsen with the gap in spending between London and the North doubling over recent years. This bid, if successful will bring a spotlight to the Jarrow constituency giving significant investment into Jarrow and Hebburn town centres. An expansion of the Hebburn Minewater Scheme as well as a creation of a public green space in the Mountbatten Centre which will hugely improve the experience of visitors.
"The core aim of this bid for funding is to invest in a low carbon community. If we can use the levelling up funding to create a greener constituency that celebrates our past whilst investing in our future, I believe this bid will benefit us for generations to come."
The council has also submitted a Levelling Up bid for the South Shields constituency. To find out more, visit: Images Reveal how Cash Injection could Revitalise Town.