Vision for buzzing bar and restaurant scene in King Street to stop night-time 'tumbleweeds' in South Shields town centre

Town hall chiefs have called for more bars and restaurants in South Shields after the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 3:24 pm

“Retail as we know it has changed irreversibly,” said Whiteleas councillor Doreen Purvis.

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King Street, South Shields, as businesses reopened on Monday April 12
King Street, South Shields, as businesses reopened on Monday April 12

“COVID has contributed to it, but online shopping has changed the way people actually buy things.

“At one stage, King Street was being promoted as a retail area, but I think the time has now come to revisit that – going down Shields on a night time, [it’s like] there’s tumbleweeds going along the street, the only lights are from McDonald’s.

“Most high streets have a thriving restaurant and cafe culture and I think we need to look at what King Street is going to be in the future and have a healthy mix, because I think the two sit together.”

King Street, South Shields, on the one-year anniversary of the first covid lockdown beginning in March 2021

Cllr Purvis was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Place Select Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Planning the panel’s upcoming work programme for the next 12 months, Paul Baldasera, the council’s strategy and democracy officer, raised the prospect of considering the state of retail and leisure across the borough in more detail.

He added: “There is a strategy emerging to get people to live and have more residential areas close to town centres.

“A corollary of that is to make sure that you do have restaurants and bars to cater for those people.”

Several once prominent stores have left South Shields in recent years.

While reasons to visit the town centre have reduced, however, accessibility has improved, with the opening of a multimillion pound transport interchange and revamped Metro station in 2019.

But some traders have previously complained about reduced takings in the wake of its reclamation.

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