It comes as town and city centres around the country struggle with closures amid gloomy times for the high street retail sector.
South Tyneside Council has been progressing with plans for strategic demolitions as part of its town centre regeneration, including the old central library, former job centre and some vacant retail units.
In June 2022, a new application was registered to demolish part of Fowler Street which is linked to Future High Streets funding to help pave the way for more town centre housing.
The site earmarked for demolition covers a mixed development of retail units at numbers 60,62,64 and 70 Fowler Street and 5, 7 and 9 Burrow Street, which includes two old furniture stores.
According to the submitted planning application, the buildings are vacant with the exception of 7 Burrow Street which “remains occupied until alternative accommodation is found for the tenant”.
The planning application adds the buildings are in a “poor state of disrepair and are surplus to South Tyneside Council’s requirements”.
The proposed demolition, the application adds, will “make way for the future redevelopment of the site as part of the overall town centre regeneration project”.
Councillor Margaret Meling, lead member for economic growth, skills and climate change on the council, said the demolition plans would make the site “shovel-ready” for housing development.
Cllr Meling explained: “We are using £6million awarded to the council through the Future High Streets Fund to acquire land and properties needed to facilitate residential development in South Shields town centre.
“These demolitions, subject to planning permission, would help provide ‘shovel-ready’ sites needed for the delivery of much-needed new homes.
“Our regeneration plans are centred on boosting footfall and increasing the residential population and will mean more people spending time and money in the town centre.”
Cllr Meling added: “Over the last decade, we’ve invested in infrastructure and facilities, such as our award-winning cultural venue The Word and our transport interchange.
“Now we’re focused on unlocking land and preparing sites for redevelopment, to continue to create the right environment for private sector investment.
“Supporting town centres and high streets is one of our key priorities and we need to diversify away from traditional retail to allow them to thrive.”
According to planning documents, the council hopes to start demolition works at Fowler Street later this year with a view of completing the works by the end of January, 2023.
The works would use “sequential demolition and dismantling techniques” and measures to reduce noise and dust during this process.
A decision on the demolition application will be made once a period of council consultation has concluded.
For more information on the demolition application, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal and search reference: ST/0402/22/DEM