Business bosses have been challenged to serve up plans for a series of new seafront restaurants in South Tyneside.
Three sites in South Shields have been identified by regeneration bosses for a number of “high quality” restaurants, cafes and kiosk businesses on a prime site.
The plots are in the Pier Head car park - with one facing out on to Sea Road earmarked for food and retail kiosks.
Restaurants or cafes are also proposed for a site bordering the South Pier path and the pier yard - beyond the pier watchman’s office.
South Tyneside Council is looking expressions of interest from people who could make the vision a reality.
Business leaders in the borough have welcomed the investment and opportunities but voiced concern that more variety is needed and say efforts should be concentrated on improving the ailing town centre.
This is a unique opportunity to enhance the overall tourism and leisure offer in South Shields.Councillor John Anglin
Councillor John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy at South Tyneside Council, said the plans will compliment the £16million Haven Point leisure centre and all weather activities, coastline and parks, providing an “unrivalled seaside offer for our residents and tourists in the North East.”
He said “This is a unique opportunity to enhance the overall tourism and leisure offer in South Shields. This site is in a prime location offering stunning views across our coastline.
“The council has already made strenuous efforts to enhance the offer on the foreshore.
“A high quality restaurant in this popular area would be another element of the jigsaw to make South Shields the North East’s premier coastal resort which is a core aim of our 365 masterplan.”
He added: “By harnessing regeneration success in this way we aim to increase footfall in other parts of the town. A new restaurant at the foreshore would allow us to link activities with Ocean Road and the town centre.
“This will be essential in encouraging visitors to stay longer which will result in greater expenditure in the local economy.”
Gary Craig, chairman of South Tyneside Business Forum, said: “While the South Tyneside Business Forum welcomes any ideas that will benefit the town, I personally would like to see a greater variety of sea front facilities in this location.
“Rather than simply duplicating the existing offer, why not consider a cycle hub; a surf shack or sea activity related building; a traditional seaside shop or beach huts that would encourage physical activity and positively improve the area?
“It just seems a shame that this proposal sees the seafront set to benefit once again when, I believe, efforts would be better served by concentrating on improving the town centre.”