Bee Farm Could Create Park Buzz
A bee farm could be created in plans proposed for the grounds of an historic Hebburn park.
Following an approach by a beekeeper, South Tyneside Council - in its role as Charity Trustee - is considering granting a lease of the former Park Keepers Lodge in Carr Ellison Park and adjacent land for a bee farm.
Cabinet members will be recommended to support a six-year lease for this purpose, when they meet on 25 May.
If supported, the Lodge would become an apiarian training and educational facility, including an observatory, beehives and a tearoom. The new centre would also offer bee keeping courses.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Transport and Neighbourhoods, said: "This proposal presents an interesting and unique opportunity for a currently vacant run-down building to be brought back into use.
"The former Parks Keepers Lodge is a sought-after site, but as the park is held on charitable trust, any proposals must meet certain conditions in terms of the original gift of the land and its use as a recreational facility for the benefit of the community.
"If this is agreed, it would improve and restore a dilapidated building, and other parts of the park that are currently in disrepair, with the costs met externally.
"The establishment of a bee farm would also draw wider interest from the community and increase visitor numbers to the park, not to mention promote bees and the important role they play within the ecosystem and wider natural environment."
South Tyneside Council is the freehold owner of Carr Ellison Park. The land was acquired by Hebburn Urban District Council in March 1920 from Ralph Carr-Ellison.
The terms of the transfer provided that the land was to be held by the Council '...upon trust forever as and for a public part and pleasure gardens or recreations grounds for the use of the inhabitants of the town of Hebburn and for no other use intent or purpose whatsoever...'
Under the terms of the original transfer, a charitable trust was created with the Council holding the park as Charity Trustee and authorised to take decisions over the lease of the land.
The park keeper's lodge is believed to pre-date the 1920 gift from Ralph Carr Ellison. It has stood vacant since around 2015.
Under the proposals, the lease would be granted to a new charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) specifically for the purpose of running a bee farm.
If endorsed by Cabinet, the matter will be referred to Full Council for further support. It would also be subject to the necessary planning approvals.