Making South Shields 'a place people want to visit' again is the focus of new project

Making South Shields a place ‘people want to visit’ will be the focus of an upcoming project by town hall chiefs.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 11:32 am
One of the busier days at Sandhaven Beach, South Shields.

The town is already in the middle of the £100million South Shields 365 regeneration scheme, which has included a revamped market place, new library and soon to be completed transport interchange.

But now members of South Tyneside Council are expected to turn their attention to other means of reversing the area’s decline from its industrial peak.

Coun Ernest Gibson, the newly-appointed chairman of the Place Select Committee, said: “It is clear that much investment has been made in schemes such as South Shields 365 and the IAMP which are aimed at boosting the town and the wider areas’ fortunes.

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“However, it is our role to make sure that everything that can be done is being done to make South Shields a place where residents prosper, business thrive and people want to visit.”

The committee is due to meet on June 18 to begin discussions for a new council commission examining the ‘opportunities and challenges’ facing South Shields’.

The project has been prompted by a recent government report on the regeneration of the UK’s seaside towns.

According to this, communities which ‘emerged as leisure and pleasure resorts in the nineteenth century’ have suffered long-term declines in what were previously considered their core industries, such as ship-building, fishing and other port activities, as well as tourism.

Such areas have also been hamstring by their own geography, the report states.

In the case of South Shields, the council says it has ‘a reduced catchment area of 90 degrees’ due to being hemmed in by the North Sea on its east side and the River Tyne to the north.

However, council chiefs also note the town is served by good transport links, particularly access to the Tyne and Wear Metro.

And it has also benefited from Heritage Lottery Funding to restore its historic features, such as its seafront parks, to their ‘former Victorian glory’.

But a report for the committee also note the town suffers from a declining and ageing population, where the number claiming benefits such as Job Seekers’ Allowance is roughly triple the national average.