Next stage of developing South Shields and tackling the town's problems on the agenda

Town hall chiefs are turning their attention to the next stage of regenerating South Shields as 2020 gets underway.
The South Shields coastThe South Shields coast
The South Shields coast

The town has already benefited from multi-million pound investment in recent years, including the transport interchange, the Word and the revamp of the marketplace.

And from next week, borough bosses will start taking a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing it as a seaside town and how to deal with factors such as its location and former industrial heritage.

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Coun Ernest Gibson said: “There has been a great deal of investment into the regeneration of South Shields with schemes such as the new transport interchange, which saw one million passengers in its first two months of opening, the Holborn Riverside site and IAMP.

“These schemes aim to boost not just the town centre, but also the wider area of South Tyneside.

“We have a vital role in supporting the development of South Shields where it’s most needed and it is extremely important that we ensure that South Shields is a place where residents can thrive, businesses are successful, and tourists want to visit.”

Coun Gibson chairs South Tyneside Council’s Place Select Committee, which will start looking at the next steps for South Shields when it holds its first public meeting of 2020 on +January 21.

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Challenges facing the town, as well as the wider borough, include above average unemployment, reliance on benefits, an ageing population and oversubscribed doctors and dentists.

Coastal erosion is another issue and was named a priority by Coun Gibson when he was made chairman of the Local Government Association’s Coastal Special Interest Group.

Plans have previously been unveiled for the Holborn Riverside site, which is slated to provide homes for more than 1,000 people and a similar number of jobs over 10 years.

Councillors began gearing up for their latest project to reverse the town’s decline in 2019, prompted by a government report on the future of the UK’s seaside towns.

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This claimed communities which ‘emerged as leisure and pleasure resorts in the nineteenth century’ saw their previous core industries, such as ship-building, fishing and tourism, decline.

It added this, combined with their geography ‘on the edge’ can also lead to ‘social problems’.