Last chance to have your say on vision for future of South Shields town centre
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South Tyneside Council launched a six-week public consultation in October asking people how and why they use the town centre, as well as seeking ideas and suggestions for its future.
To help gather feedback, the town centre has been divided into five ‘zones’: Mill Dam, New College, Town Centre, Coronation Street and Southern Gateway (the area south of King Street and north of the Town Hall).
The consultation outlines the strengths, challenges and opportunities facing each area, and potential options for regeneration and development that have been identified.
While some elements of regeneration plans are fixed, including proposals for South Tyneside College to move into the town centre and housing development at Holborn, council bosses are seeking views on several sites.
This includes a ‘ferry landing’ development site, new options at Harton Quays and a range of other strategic locations.
More than 1,200 people have already given their views about the regeneration of South Shields town centre in the consultation so far.
With days left before the consultation officially closes, council bosses are again urging residents to ‘join the conversation’.
Councillor Margaret Meling, cabinet member for economic growth, skills and climate change, said: “We’ve had a great response so far, but for anyone who has not yet had their say, there are only a few days left.
“This is an exciting opportunity to give your views about the future of the town centre.
“There are suggestions for each zone to gauge people’s opinions and stimulate feedback and there are some elements which are fixed and some which can change.
“We know from the responses we’ve had so far that people really value green spaces and would like to see an improved public realm and smart shop fronts.
“They also feel that housing is needed in the town centre, and the majority of those who responded feel that the relocated college will increase footfall, lead to a livelier town centre and better opportunities for businesses.
“This is about gathering information to help inform a masterplan, which will be a live, evolving document, flexible enough to react to changing markets and local and national circumstances.
“Over the last decade, the council has invested significantly and created the infrastructure and environment to generate confidence in the private sector to invest.
“We will continue to do that, unlocking land for development and focusing on our public realm, while acting as an enabler and influencer.”
During the consultation period, there have been a number of drop-in events and a coffee cart in the town centre, as well as an online survey.
Council chiefs say the consultation is part of a new approach to “work collectively with local people, listening to and prioritising their views” and having an evidence base to help inform decisions.
Cllr Meling continued: “We want residents and businesses to be at the heart of discussions about the future of their town.
“We would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and we’re looking forward to hearing their views and ideas.”
The consultation is likely to be the first in a series of ‘South Tyneside Conversations’, with further consultations and masterplanning for Hebburn and Jarrow planned next year.
The consultation will close on Sunday, November 20. To give your views, visit https://ourconversation.co.uk/have-your-say/