Making South Shields an attractive place for holidays and setting up home at centre of new project
Giving visitors a good reason to be more than just day trippers to South Shields could be at the heart of further regeneration efforts.
Town hall chiefs are gearing up for their latest project to reverse the town’s decline from its industrial peak.
And following a string of eye-catching initiatives, including a revamped market place, new library and soon to be completed transport interchange, attention could now turn to getting more workers and families to settle permanently.
“We need to think about what we want our town to look like in the future,” said Coun Anne Hetherington, who represents the West Park ward.
“We want our town to be a destination to come to all year round, for people to come for longer than just a day trip.
“If we make it a destination for people who want to visit, but also for people who want to live – I would like to see us be a town for the future.”
Coun Hetherington was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Place Select Committee, which opened discussions on a new commission examining the ‘opportunities and challenges’ facing South Shields’.
The project was prompted by a government report on the future of the UK’s seaside towns.
South Shields is already in the middle of the £100million South Shields 365 regeneration scheme and has benefitted from Heritage Lottery Funding and access to the Tyne and Wear Metro, but also suffers from a declining and ageing population, with the number claiming benefits such as Job Seekers’ Allowance roughly triple the national average.
Paul Baldasera, the council’s strategy and democracy officer, said: “The [government] report focuses on seaside towns that emerged as leisure resorts in the 19th Century and the fact that these, in a number of instances, have been neglected and suffered from the decline of core industries and domestic tourism.
“A lot of these areas, because of their geography, they’re the end of the line.
“The report is about inspiring these towns to regenerate their pioneering spirit and I think in many ways South Shields is doing that.
“But these 59 recommendations give us the opportunity to look at South shields as a seaside town and ask how we stack up against the national picture.”