A SOLICITOR whose company is awaiting details of the South Shields 365 masterplan has urged the council to fully consult with the town’s business community.
PGS Law in Coronation Street is on the site of a planned cinema and retail complex in the Barrington Street area.
Keith Swan, a partner with the law firm, supports the council’s ambition to regenerate the town centre.
But he’s anxious the firm should still be able to provide its services from around the same location – due to the ties it has established with townsfolk over almost 50 years.
Mr Swan said: “The council’s plans to improve the vibrancy of the town centre are extremely ambitious and we are very supportive.
“Clearly, at the same time as attracting new businesses to the town centre, it is imperative the council recognise the need to support existing successful town centre businesses and offer them suitable alternative premises that will not detrimentally affect their viability.
“PGS Law – formerly Patterson, Glenton and Stracey Solicitors – has been located in the heart of South Shields for more than 125 years, serving the legal requirements of South Tyneside’s businesses and individuals without interruption.
“The firm are part of the DNA of South Shields with generations of the same family seeking guidance from our firm over many decades.
“We have been based at our present town centre offices in Waterloo Square since they were constructed in 1966 and we established a second office in South Shields town centre in 2001 in Coronation Street.
“We are well established, settled and centrally located for our clients and we would wish to continue to be able to offer our services from the same location for the convenience of all of our clients.
“I am sure the council would wish to support and protect long-established town centre businesses who have successful track records in providing employment opportunities and services to the people of South Tyneside.
“Affected businesses do have the right to protect their own commercial interests and they also have the right to obtain professional legal and valuation advice – at the cost of the council – upon their individual positions and their entitlement to compensation if they are adversely affected.
“Consultation is important and it would assist immensely if the council were to arrange a forum/regular meetings with all affected businesses in order to explain the procedure and options available.
“Establishing a collaborative approach to these issues is the key to achieving a successful outcome for all and I would urge the council to adopt such an approach at the earliest opportunity.”