THE creation of a new transport interchange at the heart of South Shields town centre moves a step closer to reality next week.
Members of the council’s Place Select Committee are to receive a report on the ambitious project.
The vision forms part of the £100m South Shields 365 ‘masterplan’ and will result in the closer intergration of Metro and bus services.
Central to the plan is the building of a new town centre bus station – to be located on the existing Post Office in Keppel Street, which is to be demolished.
The aim is to create a direct concourse access from the new bus station to the Metro, with a platform spanning the bridge and major internal refurbishment to the Metro station itself.
A design group, including representatives of South Tyneside Council, Muse, the authority’s development partner on ‘365’, and Metro operator Nexus, has now been formed to finalise exactly how the transport hub will look.
Meanwhile, a business case for the hub is being put together and is to be submitted to transport chiefs by December this year.
A council spokesman said: “The Keppel Street area serves as the bus station which brings visitors directly into the centre of the town.
“The bus shelters and stopping areas are sited downstairs from the elevated Metro station. At present the bus and Metro stations give a poor sense of arrival into the town centre with both being in need of significant investment.
“The comprehensive regeneration of this important area within the town will not only provide an opportunity to work with partners to develop an attractive, integrated public transport hub as a gateway to the town but will also facilitate integration with new developments to the east of Fowler Street.
“Options around the form, layout and location of any new public transport facilities will be the subject of discussions with all stakeholders.”
Members of the council’s Place Select Commitee are to meet next Tuesday, from 10am at South Shields Town Hall to discuss the project’s progress.
Coun Nancy Maxwell, chairman of the Place Select Committee, said: “The development of the new Public Transport Interchange for South Shields is a key part of the much broader regeneration of the town centre and will help to drive forward the council’s South Shields 365 vision.
“The Keppel Street area serves as the bus station and gateway to South Shields Metro station, and for many people, it is the first thing they see when arriving in the town centre.
“It is important that the new interchange is developed in a way that improves the sense of arrival for visitors to the town centre, whether they come by bus or by Metro, and provides better links between the two and beyond to a regenerated town centre.
“The council is working with a number of partners including Nexus to create a more integrated facility with a new bus interchange and completely refurbished metro station.
“The changes will make the area much more welcoming for visitors and I’m looking forward to hearing more about how the project is progressing when we meet next week.”