SOUTH Tyneside Council is preparing to use compulsory purchase orders to ensure its ‘South Shields 365’ masterplan becomes a reality, it has emerged.
Negotiations are ongoing to purchase land and properties needed to deliver the £100m decade-long vision.
We would always prefer to secure properties through negotiation and agreement but that will not be possible in all cases.
Some properties have been successfully acquired – including the former Gazette building in Chapter Row and the Tyneside Car Sales and Streamline garages at the back of nearby Fowler Street.
But due to “increasing resistance”, from some property owners CPOs are set to be sought later this year.
And the council has already approached specialist planning solicitors Pinsent Masons with a view to seeking them.
To achieve its goal, 90 town centre land and property interests must be acquired, many of which are freehold or on long leases.
And to date only 28 per cent of those interests have been acquired – leaving 77 outstanding.
When members of the council’s decision-making cabinet meet next week they will be advised that orders will “likely” be needed to allow the development to progress.
On a more positive note, work on The Word, the new central library and digital media centre in South Shields’ Market Place, is to start on site next month, with the name of the contractor chosen to carry out the work to be announced next week.
Plans for a new transport interchange at the heart of the town are also gathering pace with a planning application expected to be submitted in late spring this year, following a public consultation.
And development partners South Tyneside Council, Muse Developments and Nexus are working on a bid for grant funding from the Local Transport Board, expected to be submitted in July. Coun John Anglin, the council’s lead member for Regeneration and Economy, said: “We would always prefer to secure properties through negotiation and agreement but that will not be possible in all cases.
“We value our businesses and the contribution they make to the local economy so we are doing all we can to help those displaced by the regeneration plans.
“Our officers are in regular contact with affected owners and tenants to support them with business relocations and compensation payments.
“We are actively working with a number of businesses trying to identify alternative premises or development opportunities so that they can continue to trade in the town.”
The council’s cabinet is to meet at South Shields Town Hall from 4pm next Wednesday.