A row of empty shops is set to vanish from the town’s main shopping area under a project aiming to pave the way for future development.
Plans to demolish numbers 77-99 King Street, formerly home to businesses such as Mothercare and chocolate shop Thorntons, along with 1 East Street to the rear of them, were approved in early 2020. But work was delayed due to the pandemic.
Hoardings appeared around the buildings in September 2021, and since then passersby have noticed their brickwork slowly disappearing, leaving a growing gap in the skyline.
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The council said the buildings were being brought down to ‘clear the way for further development’ and specialist contractors MGL will carry out the work.
South Tyneside Council said in the autumn that the demolition project will take around five months to complete, meaning the buildings should have completely vanished by spring 2022.
Cllr Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said at the time building work began: “We know that for our town centre to thrive we need to move beyond retail and create a more vibrant environment.
“We’ve already delivered our multi-award-winning cultural venue, The Word, and our superb transport interchange, as well as significant investment in our ever-popular Ocean Road, and we are continuing to build on these foundations.”
News of work starting comes after contractors announced work was complete on the new Job Centre Plus building, which will house around 65 Department of Work and Pensions staff and provide a range of services.
She added: “In my community priorities set out earlier this year, we committed to supporting our town centres and villages, and creating the conditions for recovery and investment.
“Regeneration is a gradual process, it doesn’t happen overnight, but South Shields is undergoing a transformation and there is a lot to be positive about.
“We are continuing to create a place where people want to live, learn, work, and visit; which will lead to further community and business investment.”