MULTI-MILLION pound plans have been unveiled to transform a historic shipyard into an attractive riverside community.
Smith’s Dock, in North Shields, was once a key part of the shipbuilding industry on the Tyne and one of the main employers in the region.
But after work ceased at the site in the 1990s, the area became derelict. Now the old repair yards could be brought back to life under a £140m scheme.
Property group Places for People wants to build around 800 new houses, with a number of shops and cafes. The project is set to generate hundreds of jobs during construction as well as apprenticeships and training opportunities. In addition, it is hoped the economy will receive a major boost as more people come to the area.
One of the main aims is to connect the Fish Quay and Royal Quays neighbourhoods, so that residents and visitors can walk along the whole stretch of the riverside.
The proposals include a pedestrian boulevard and cycle paths running along the river bank, as well as a waterfront park. The planning application has been submitted to North Tyneside Council.
Nigel Brewer, project director at Places for People, said: “This application marks an important new phase in the history of Smith’s Dock. This is the start of its revival, where the site will once again become a destination for people to live, work and socialise.
“We are keen to get the economy moving. Over the coming years the redevelopment of Smith’s Dock will generate hundreds of new jobs, apprenticeships as well training opportunities for young people.
“However, the economic benefits of this site will inevitably extend into the wider North Tyneside region.
“This truly special site with its rich history demands an equally special iconic design that makes the most of the unique location.
“We will create an exciting new development of homes together with small business facilities and amenities that will transform this former industrial area into a fantastic future asset for North Shields – as it was in the past.”
Smith’s Dock originally opened in 1851. The decline of the shipbuilding industry led to its closure in 1909. However the area was still used as a repair yard until the 1990s.
Places for People took over in 2007 and have already pumped in around £20m to clean up the land and get it ready for development. This has included infilling three of the original six dock structures.
A roundabout and new roads have also been built to allow access for public transport.
After consultations were carried out on the scheme, it was decided to keep three docks as a symbol of the area’s heritage.
Mr Brewer added: “The feedback we got was that people were keen to keep the heritage and history of the docks. Hence two dry docks and a wet dock will be retained and will become the heart of the development.
“We see this scheme as the last piece of the jigsaw, creating an attractive place along the riverside where people will want to come.”