Cinema and Glasshouse plans halted as chiefs reassess plans for South Shields town centre
Plans for a new cinema and an ambitious office building have been halted as council chiefs reassess their vision for South Shields in light of changing circumstances.
As regeneration plans progress, South Tyneside Council chiefs say they are prioritising projects that will generate jobs and boost the local economy – but will only proceed where they are both financially viable and sustainable in the long-term.
Proposals for a new cinema The Glassworks, a proposed four-storey office development on Harton Quays Park, have been shelved.
Councillor Mark Walsh, cabinet member for regeneration and economy, said the impact of Brexit and global supply chains meant the plans came in £6million over budget, with a decision taken not to proceed at this time.
“Projects are now more expensive - Brexit and supply issues mean tenders come back higher than originally anticipated,” he said.
"Residents and businesses would rightly criticise us if we stuck rigidly to plans that risk being undeliverable or unsustainable.
“We’ve also known for some time that the high street that is centred solely around traditional retail is a thing of the past, and Covid has hugely accelerated that decline.
“The pandemic has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate our plans so that they can be flexible and adaptable to the changing nature of town centres and the market.”
He said looking forward, the council will focus on unlocking land for redevelopment, such as acquiring land and properties, carrying out demolitions and getting sites ‘shovel-ready' to make them more attractive to mixed-use investors.
He added this will be done in line with council priorities around investing in the natural and built environment, creating the conditions for recovery and investment and supporting town centres and villages.
Over recent years he said the council has invested significantly in public buildings and facilities across South Shields, Hebburn and Jarrow, future proofing the facilities on which people rely.
Cllr Walsh said the council is now looking to build on those foundations by focusing on what is deliverable before bringing forward a long-term strategy for growth.
"This isn’t about buildings, it is about people and creating jobs, growth and opportunities,” he said.
“We want to bring residents and businesses on the journey with us and will consult on future plans as they evolve.
“Regeneration is a gradual process, it doesn’t happen overnight, but the borough is undergoing a transformation and there is a lot to be positive about.”