The final part of a town centre regeneration has been scrapped.
Now they will be able to continue to trade after South Tyneside Council confirmed that section of the proposals for the land, between Fowler Street, Crossgate and Garden Lane, will no longer go ahead.
Businesses look to the future after rethink on South Shields masterplan
The authority has confirmed the decision to halt that part of the scheme, which had previously been “deferred to a later date” as it moves on with the rest of the proposals.
The move ends years of limbo for businesses, which stand on the phase four plot, and had faced moving to new sites, with their owners and managers told of the news after they pressed the council for an update.
The authority has said it has made a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to acquire the outstanding land and properties it needs to deliver the next phases of the scheme.
At a meeting of the council’s cabinet a resolution was made to pursue the Order in respect of the land required for phases two and three of the £100million regeneration scheme.
This affects land on Keppel Street, where the new transport interchange will be located, and Barrington Street, which is earmarked for retail and leisure development. The council says the CPO does not affect land and properties previously identified for a supermarket - phase four - of the regeneration, “for which there is now no proposed development.”
It added: “The council will not therefore be acquiring any further premises located on the land formerly identified as phase four.”
The authority had previously said that section of the scheme, which includes the section of land between Fowler Street, Crossgate and Garden Lane, had been "deferred to a later date."
The first phase features The Word, a new central library and digital media centre, and an improved market area, the second will include a new travel interchange and the third section will concentrate on a better retail and leisure services.
Councillor John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “We would always prefer to secure land and properties through negotiation but this is not always possible and we will use all means available to us to keep the project on schedule.
“This week will signal the formal start of the statutory process.
“All affected businesses and landowners will be fully advised of the process and their right to object.
“The council will continue to work closely with them throughout the process and try to identify alternative premises for relocation.”
Cultural venue The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, is expected to open this autumn as part of the plan larger plans.
Muse Developments and the council continue work on the Mark Place site.
Work is progressing on fitting out the interior of the centre, which will feature facilities including exhibition space, a computer gaming area, a design and innovation studio with 3D printers, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children’s storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café and a rooftop restaurant and terrace providing stunning views over the river.
Coun Anglin added: “We are one hundred per cent committed to transforming our town centre and it is exciting to see our plans coming to fruition.
“The Word is on schedule to open this autumn, we have full planning permission for the new Transport Interchange which will provide a new gateway to South Shields and enhance connectivity to the key areas of the town, and we have outline planning permission for the leisure and retail elements of the scheme.”