'Detailed talks' underway to extend Metro in South Tyneside and Sunderland to serve IAMP
Town hall chiefs are having ‘detailed discussions’ with transport bosses about extending the Tyne and Wear Metro to serve a major new manufacturing park.
Work on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) began in 2018 on land between Sunderland and South Tyneside.
It is hoped by the time the facility is finished it could have created up to 7,000 new jobs in the region, but brains behind the scheme are still grappling with how to make sure that many workers will be able to get to and from the factories.
“It is hoped the employment opportunities the IAMP will bring will become more tangible to the other people involved,” said Coun John Anglin, South Tyneside Council’s (STC) cabinet member for regeneration and economy.
“We also need to continue to ensure that the site has accessible public transport links.
“And detailed discussions with Nexus regarding the future South of the Tyne and Wear Metro link are ongoing.”
Coun Anglin was speaking at a meeting of the council’s ruling cabinet, expected to be the last council meeting held for several weeks due to measures intended to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak.
According to a report for councillors a ‘demand-responsive bus service’ is among the transport schemes being considered for new workers at the site, although it is currently unclear what form this could take.
Highways England’s £100 million upgrade of the Testo’s Roundabout is also expected to improve access, as would improvements to the Downhill Lane junction, possibly including a new bridge over the A19, if the £40 million funding needed can be secured.
Metro bosses at Nexus are considering establishing a ‘South of Tyne and Wear metro loop’ using the former Leamside Line.
Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, which partnered with STC to develop the IAMP, has previously said a southern extension to the Metro network could ‘easily be done within 10 years’.
Construction of the site’s first three units is currently underway, two of which are earmarked for firms working in the automotive sector.
The third is slated to become the IAMP’s ‘Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Manufacturing’, focussing on research and development.
All three are currently expected to be finished later this year.