South Shields town centre set for slice of £675million Future High Streets Fund cash
Plans to transform South Shields town centre have been given a boost after council bosses were successful in an initial bid for a slice of a £675million fund.
South Tyneside Council has been selected to go through to the next stage of its application to the Future High Streets Fund – which is part of a Government drive to help town centres adapt and thrive through capital investments that bring about transformative change.
South Shields is among one of just 50 town centres in the country to go forward into the next phase of assessment, which will involve the development of a full business case.
Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been selected to go through to the next round.
“High streets up and down the country are in crisis, with more than 22,000 shops lost over the last nine years. South Tyneside is no exception.
“We recognised some time ago that for our town centres to survive and thrive, they need to evolve.
“That’s why we launched our South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan, creating the conditions and the infrastructure to generate public sector confidence and investment.
“This is already paying dividends, with an additional 450,000 visitors a year to the town centre thanks to the success of The Word, for example.”
He added: “The fact that we have been selected to go through to the next phase is recognition from Government and an endorsement of our plans as credible and deliverable.”
The first stage of the application process involved the council setting out its vision for South Shields town centre, the regeneration work that is ongoing to overcome the challenges facing the high street and an initial overview of the extra investment needed.
The bid focused on accelerating the delivery of town centre infrastructure; enhancing connectivity between the town centre, the Riverside and the Foreshore; reshaping vacant buildings for other uses; improving leisure facilities; providing the type of housing that residents aspire to as well as investing in digital infrastructure to support a sustainable town centre.