Images of new South Tyneside College, ferry landing cafe and ambitious expansion of The Customs House released as chiefs give glimpse of future
South Tyneside Council has revealed more information on regeneration plans for South Shields – including a multi-million pound bid to revitalise iconic arts venue The Customs House.
Chiefs stated earlier in 2021 how their vision for the town was "evolving' due to the changing picture of high street retail, the global Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit impacts.
Following a decade of delivering regeneration schemes across the borough, the council's focus has now shifted in South Shields – with plans for a multiplex cinema and major office development ‘The Glassworks’ put on hold.
Instead, the evolving vision aims to create a greener town centre with more formal green spaces, additional housing and leisure opportunities and public realm enhancements.
This includes improved links between the Fowler Street Gateway, through the town centre and onto the Holborn riverside, where more than 350 new homes are proposed.
As part of a regeneration update this week, South Tyneside Council confirmed that a £5million funding bid has been developed in partnership with The Customs House.
The investment plans, which are subject to funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the planning process, aim to modernise the beloved venue and improve its viability in the long-term.
This includes an improved food and beverage offer, more space for outdoor performances/events and more commercial spaces to let.
Although a decision on the Government funding bid is not expected until early 2022, council bosses say the investment would create a "modern top-class regional facility" building on the venue's existing spaces and unique location.
Plans to create a cafe/restaurant on a patch of green space near the town’s Ferry Landing are also progressing, with several interested parties looking to develop the site.
Meanwhile, wider schemes include boosting footfall and local spend in South Shields, building on its natural and heritage assets, expanding events, transforming buildings with public art, rolling out public WiFi and maximising the use of the Market Square.
Councillor Mark Walsh, cabinet member for regeneration and economy, said: "For me it's about making South Shields town centre into that new much more vibrant place to live and to work - and ultimately if we get the college there - to learn, educate and be trained.”
He added: “We have got lots of caveats around the funding but if we get that in place we have got the plans and when we do start having our various engagement events, we would encourage the public to get involved.”
Regeneration plans for South Shields cover several individual projects, some of which already have external funding in place.
This includes £1.85million of ‘brownfield land release funding’ at Holborn Riverside and a further £9.4million from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership for the delivery of future office accommodation at the site.
An additional £6million has been secured from the Future High Streets Fund to acquire land and property needed to facilitate the delivery of up to 200 new homes within walking distance of the town centre.
Alongside South Tyneside College, the council is also awaiting a decision on bids for Department for Education and Levelling Up funding to relocate the college and student accommodation to South Shields town centre.