A cosmetics shop has announced it is to close in another blow for South Shields town centre.
Browns Cosmetics, in Station Approach, off King Street, is due to close at the end of this month, and says a lack of customers is the reason behind the closure.
It comes after recent years have seen a string of shops shut their doors in King Street, prompting fears for the future of the town centre.
Browns Cosmetics owner Alan Dowson said the reason for closing is a ‘decline in footfall’ in the town centre.
Mr Dowson said the store has been trading for five years, but has only traded from its Station Approach premises for 21 months.
He said: “Footfall has dropped massively in the town centre and its only going to get worse with the new transport interchange as customers won’t be coming past the store anymore.
“There is also a lack of police presence in the town. I am here every day and see a lot of drug users and alcoholics. I think that in the town centre people feel very vulnerable.”
Northumbria Police Neighbourhood Inspector Phil Baker said: “We don’t tolerate antisocial behaviour in our communities and have two dedicated town centre beat officers who work in the area.
“We will continue to patrol areas that have experienced incidents of anti-social behaviour and officers will use both criminal and civil legislation to tackle large groups and keep youths out of trouble.”
South Tyneside Council is pressing ahead with its 365 masterplan to regenerate the town centre, which has already seen The Word open in the Market Place, and work take shape on a new transport interchange.
A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “It is always disappointing when a business leaves our high streets but it is important to note that this is a national issue, and while some retailers have left, we have welcomed others.
“Here in South Shields, we are doing all we can to make the Town Centre an attractive place for business by investing and creating the infrastructure to trigger private sector investment.
“The ongoing 365 regeneration masterplan is helping to increase footfall among shoppers and visitors as we expand our offer beyond just retail to leisure and recreation.”