Striking new images show how South Shields town centre could look under fresh regeneration plans - but council chiefs say they want your say
Striking new images of how South Shields town centre could look in the near future have been released as people and businesses in South Tyneside are asked for their views on major regeneration plans.
A vibrant new scene for King Street, complete with shipping container units and food stalls, and a ferry landing development site are all featured in the CGI images ahead of people in the borough being asked to ‘join the conversation’.
South Tyneside Council is set to launch a new consultation next week inviting borough residents to talk about the town.
The ‘Our South Shields Conversation’, which will officially open on Monday, October 10, will ask 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’ for discussion: Mill Dam, New College, Town Centre, Coronation Street and Southern Gateway (the area south of King Street and north of the Town Hall).
The six-week consultation on the new plans for the five zones identified will outline the strengths, challenges and opportunities facing each area while offering potential options for future regeneration and development.
While some elements of regeneration plans are fixed, including plans for South Tyneside College to move into the town centre and wider housing development at Holborn, several sites are up for discussion.
This includes a ‘ferry landing’ development site, new options at Harton Quays and a range of other strategic locations.
Cllr Margaret Meling, lead member for economic growth, skills and climate change, said the consultation was a chance for people to have their say and make a difference on the future of the town – with more expected down the line for the development of other parts of South Tyneside.
“This is an exciting opportunity for people to get involved in a conversation about the future of the town centre,” she said.
“We’ve come up with various possibilities for each zone to gauge people’s opinions and stimulate feedback.
“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.”
The consultation is the latest step in refreshed regeneration plans for South Shields. In 2021 the council announced an ‘evolved vision’ of its plans for South Shields town centre after going back to the drawing board on some elements of the multi-million pound 365 masterplan.
The 365 project saw the construction of The Word and the new transport interchange, among other improvements, but other elements such as a new cinema in the town centre were ditched.
Instead, South Tyneside Council is focusing on increasing footfall, more town centre accommodation and encouraging businesses and investors to ‘buy-in’ to its vision, especially in areas such as King Street which have high levels of private ownership.
Elsewhere, the council has been using external funding to acquire land and properties, as well as progressing demolition plans at a number of locations in the town including the old central library.
Wider regeneration plans also aim to balance car parking provision against development, encourage pop-up opportunities and to look at the “oversupply” of traditional retail units in parts of the town.
The South Shields consultation is likely to be the first in a series of ‘South Tyneside Conversations’, with further consultations and masterplanning for Hebburn and Jarrow planned in 2023.
Cllr Meling said she and other senior figures at the council were keen to get as many views as possible on the ideas, and encouraged people to take part in the conversation and make their voices heard.
She added: “This is all part of our new approach, we want to work collectively with local people, listening to and prioritising their views and having an evidence base on which to inform decisions.
“We want residents and businesses to be at the heart of discussions about the future of their town and so we’d encourage as many people as possible to get involved.
“We are looking forward to hearing their views and ideas.”
Cllr Meling said there are various ways to get involved in the conversation, including an online survey and a series of drop-in events held across the South Shields area.
A coffee cart will also be in the town centre from Monday, October 17, for seven days for people to stop by and fill in a questionnaire while enjoying a free cuppa.
Drop-in events will be held on the following dates and locations to give people the chance to view plans and have their say.
These are at the following times and places:
:: Saturday, October 29, The Word in the Atrium, 12.30pm – 3.30pm
:: Wednesday, November 2, The Round (at The Word), 4pm- 6.30pm
:: Friday, November 4, South Shields Town Hall Reception Room, 2pm- 6pm
:: Monday, November 7, Ocean Road Community Centre, 1pm-4pm and 5pm-8pm
There will also be a leaflet drop to more than 50,000 households in the town.