'Shields is coming back' - positive reaction as shipping container village adds to string of new developments in town centre
News that a shipping container village is to be built in South Shields has sparked fresh hopes for the fortune’s of the town centre.
We reported how plans for two-storey development off Mile End Road, which is similar but on a much smaller scale to the STACK structures built in Newcastle and Seaburn, Sunderland, had been approved by South Tyneside Council.
The dazzling new project, named Jacks Yard, will be outside the Clover and Wolf bar, opposite the former multi-storey car park site where plans have been approved for a modern new JobCentre building, and near the new Nexus training centre which is nearing completion.
It comes after recent years have seen blow after blow to the town centre, with national chains closing their branches in King Street, and independent shops shutting their doors.
And it also an ambitious project as the hospitality industry is left reeling from the effects of the pandemic.
Gazette readers welcomed the shipping container village plans on our Facebook page.
Rachael Milne said: “It looks great. Good luck to them (and the trees on site are being kept so I’m happy).”
Gemma Hodgson said: “Great idea!! When Seaburn got theirs I was thinking it should been in Shields.”
Claire Davison said: “Oooh!! Now this is an investment I think will be well worth it.”
Others were equally enthused.
However, some felt the seafront would be a better spot for such a development – or even the site of another one.
Suggestions included using the former Water’s Edge/Mango’s site at Trow Lea, where plans for an apartment complex were recently turned down.
Simon Buck said: “Nice idea, just a shame it's not near the seafront.”
Ann Southern said: “Brilliant. I think having one at the seafront would have been much nicer, to replace Mango's. But, hey luv, the idea and the thought. Shields is coming back ❤️"
Some were more sceptical of the plans.
Oliver Wallhead said: “Great idea. Is it going to have a live music stage like the Newcastle and Seaburn venues though? Bit of a missed opportunity if not.”
Kieran Graham feared it may be simply “an ultra-fancy smoking area”.
He added: “Not saying it’s a bad thing at all, but a lot of people commenting think it's going to be the same size and execution of the STACK projects when it's not.”“That said, it’s nice to see money being spent in the area, even as the wheels are starting to fall off the hospitality industry.”
There were remarks from others dismissing critics, bemoaning how there was “no pleasing some people”.
Angie Shandi Martin suggested using shipping containers to create accommodation for homeless people, as has been seen in other parts of the country.
"Not as lucrative, granted,” she said.
And Andrew Morris interjected with a modicum of humour, referring to the national retail chain many in South Shields would like to see open in King Street.
He said: “Put a Primark inside it, keep the folk of South Shields harping on for one happy!”