Council decision makers have agreed to the use of compulsory purchase powers to achieve the regeneration of South Shields town centre.
Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) may be needed to allow progress on Phases Two and Three of the Council’s £100 million 365 regeneration scheme – which will provide a new transport interchange and retail and leisure developments in the heart of the town centre.
Any CPO would be decided by the Secretary of State following a Public Inquiry, chaired by an independent inspector, should objections be received.
South Tyneside Council cabinet members were told at Jarrow Town Hall yesterday that the council and its acquisition advisors, Sanderson Weatherall, have been in regular contact with affected landowners and occupiers and almost half of the land needed has already been acquired. However, it is unlikely that the remainder can be secured through negotiation.
Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “With the 365 Vision coming to life before our eyes, it is important that we maintain momentum on this transformational project.
“While we would have preferred to secure this land through negotiation, it has not been possible in all cases.”
He added: “We appreciate the importance of businesses staying within the town centre and are actively working to identify alternative premises or development opportunities for those businesses displaced by the regeneration”
The borough’s latest cultural venue, the National Centre for the Written Word, is set to open later this year.
The landmark building will boast a range of facilities including exhibition space, computer gaming area, design and innovation studio with 3D printers, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children’s immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café and a rooftop restaurant and terrace providing views over the river.
Work on the nearby Market Place is almost complete to make it a civic space where events and activities will take place.
Next year will also see the start of preparatory works on site for the new Transport Interchange which will house both the Metro and bus concourse.
The aim of the development is to provide a more striking point of arrival to the town and improve connectivity between the various parts of South Shields.
Phase 4 of the redevelopment was for a supermarket to be built on land behind Fowler Street.
However, due to a change in the market, there was little need for a venue this size and plans have been deferred.