This is when empty King Street shops will be bulldozed as part of South Shields's regeneration
Regeneration bosses have revealed new details about when demolition work will begin on an disused stretch of town centre shops.
A parade of adjoining premises in King Street, South Shields, was due to be bulldozed at the end of March as part of the multi-million South Shields 365 project to revitalise the town.
But work was understandably put on hold following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier the same month.
Following this week’s announcement that WH Smith is the latest nationwide name to leave King Street, South Tyneside Council has released an update on when work will finally start.
A spokesperson for the council, which is the joint mastermind behind the £100m scheme with Muse Developments, said: "Despite Covid-19, our plans for the town centre remain on track.
"Demolition work will start at King Street later this year and is the beginning of a programme of activity on site including further demolitions and site preparations.
"Construction of new facilities will begin when the Department for Work and Pensions move into their new offices being built at Mile End Road."
Numbers 77-99 King Street, formerly home to businesses such as Mothercare and chocolate shop Thorntons, will be demolished along with 1 East Street.
This will allow South Shields 365, which has already completed The National Centre for the Written Word and the new transport interchange, to build a retail, leisure and cinema development.
The council also insisted following WH Smith’s announcement that South Shields 365 will eventually “increase footfall” in the town centre.
The stationery, newspapers, magazines and books specialist confirmed that its King Street store, which is opposite where much of the regeneration work will take place, will close at the end of October when its lease ends.
The firm has so far declined to reveal how many staff will be made redundant or if any will be offered posts at other branches.
WH Smith’s impending closure follows the departure from South Shields over the last six years of household names such as Marks and Spencer in 2014, Burton in 2019 and Debenhams, which announced earlier this year that its Waterloo Place store would not reopen following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.