A £100m masterplan to transform South Shields town centre has taken a step forward as new artists’ impressions are unveiled.
The firm, which has offices in Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and London, is best known in the North East for its transformation of Newcastle’s Quayside, including the creation of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which was completed in 2002, when the firm was part of Amec.
Plans for the new Central Library and Digital Media Centre and improvements to the adjacent Market Place have been submitted and land for the development site is being assembled, while new drawings compiled by artists show how the three key areas will look.
Muse Developments has now submitted a planning application for a new iconic Central Library and Digital Media Centre on Ferry Street on the Riverside and improvements to the adjacent Market Place, which will form Phase 1 of the regeneration.
It is anticipated that the application will be heard by the Council’s Planning Committee in the autumn and if permission is granted, work on site could start early in the new year.
The council is also making progress acquiring the land and properties it needs for the regeneration plans, with former shoe shop Riddicks, on the corner of Fowler Street the latest property to be purchased.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “This heralds the beginning of the transformation of South Shields Town Centre.
“We’re making excellent progress and the project is gathering pace.
“The feedback we received during the public consultation period was very positive and reinforced the fact that we have the support of residents and businesses. They recognise that change is necessary to create a sustainable future for the town centre.
“South Shields has tremendous potential and this masterplan is about making sure that that potential is realised and acts as a catalyst for growth, creating jobs and opportunities for local people.”
Planners say the ambitious project will position South Shields Town Centre as a vibrant year-round retail and leisure destination.
As well as lasting improvements within the town centre, the masterplan sets out to improve links between the town centre, riverside and sea front.
David Wells, development director at Muse Developments, added: “This is the first step of a hugely exciting programme which will regenerate the heart of the town.
“The proposals for the new Central Library and Digital Centre and the regeneration of the Market Place met with almost universal approval during the public consultation period and the whole team is now eager to start the construction phase.”
The council needs to acquire a number of properties and is in advanced negotiations with owners, with Compulsory Purchase Orders to be used as a last resort.