TWO key decisions over the future of landmark sites in South Tyneside are to be made ‘behind closed doors’ by senior councillors.
A meeting of the council’s decision-making cabinet next month is to exclude members of the press and public, citing “commercial sensitivity” for the decision.
Cabinet members are expected to push ahead with a new land and property acquisition strategy in order to realise the regeneration of South Shields town centre.
They will be recommended to give delegated powers to David Cramond, the council’s corporate director of economic regeneration.
Mr Cramond will then be able to personally approve the acquisition of land and properties in the town with a value of £500,000 or more.
The move is seen as essential to ensure the continuation of South Shields 365 – a 10-year masterplan to transform the town centre.
A report to the cabinet, on Wednesday, September 4, says: “The commercial sensitivity of the information is such that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”
The masterplan, unveiled in January, has already seen the demolition of Wouldhave House, in the town’s Market Place.
Also proposed is a new retail quarter in the Fowler Street West area, a new cinema, library, retail and leisure facilities, as well as a quality hotel and new housing.
The council is also working with Nexus to bring improvements to the Metro system, along with a new transport interchange.
Last week, Muse Developments was appointed to make the masterplan a reality. Cabinet members will also be asked to give approval to the appointment of a contractor to carry out a refurbishment at South Shields Town Hall.