Plans for a new supermarket in South Shields town centre have been deferred.
The original proposals for the 365 Masterplan for the town centre included plans for a high quality food store at the back of Fowler Street.
However, a drop in the demand for big supermarkets has led to this phase, which was scheduled for 2018 to 2019, now being deferred to a later date.
South Tyneside Council will therefore not be seeking to acquire any further properties for this, the final phase of the regeneration, in the near future.
Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “We remain 100% committed to our ambitious plans to transform the heart of South Shields and I would like to reassure local people that our 365 scheme is still very much on course.
“Our superb new cultural and community facility, The Word, the North East Centre for the Written Word, is on schedule to open this Autumn and this innovative digital media centre and library will attract more visitors to South Shields and boost the town’s economic fortunes.
“Next year we will see work start on site for the second stage of our regeneration programme, the new Transport Interchange which will improve connectivity between the town centre, the Riverside and the Foreshore. We will then deliver the third phase of the Masterplan to bring new leisure and retail facilities to the heart of the town centre.”
He added: “The retail market has seen several changes over recent years as consumers switch their spending on food to smaller convenience stores and online shopping.
“We are still of the opinion that there is room in the town for another high quality supermarket but we must move towards this goal in the context of this changing retail market.
“We are still keen to pursue redevelopment of this land in the longer term. We remain committed to working with businesses, landowners and our development partner, Muse, to bring this project to fruition.”
David Wells, regional director at Muse Developments, added: “We are working very closely with the council on Phases II and III of the regeneration plan and will keep an ongoing dialogue with retailers regarding Phase IV.”
The South Shields 365 regeneration programme seeks to create a sustainable future for the town centre by providing lasting improvements, developing the leisure and shopping offer and making it easier for people to travel around the key areas of the town. The developments are aimed at making the town the North East’s premier coastal resort 365 days of the year.