£7m needs to be found for South Shields transport hub

CHANGES PLANNED ... a new bus station would replace the post office on Keppel Street.
CHANGES PLANNED ... a new bus station would replace the post office on Keppel Street.

A TRANSPORT revolution at the heart of South Shields Town Centre “may not be viable” unless £7m funding is secured, a new report reveals.

Central to a £100m town masterplan is the creation of a Public Transport Interchange.

The aim is to build a new town centre bus station on the existing Post Office site, in Keppel Street, which is to be demolished.

A direct concourse access would be built from the new bus station to the Metro, with a platform spanning the bridge, and major internal refurbishment to the Metro station itself.

The cost of the project is now estimated to be in the region of £7m.

And council bosses remain confident the funding will be secured.

But members of the full council will be informed later this week that the whole scheme “may not be viable” unless South Tyneside Council, alongside its partners Nexus and Muse Developments, can provide a successful business case to secure the financial support from the North East Local Transport Body.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “The council is seeking funding of around £7m from the North East Local Transport Body to enable the Public Transport Interchange scheme to progress.

“This is part of the investment by the Combined Authority into the strategic transport infrastructure of the region to create more and better jobs, sustain economic growth and support the existing and future needs of businesses and residents.

“The bid has been approved subject to a full business case being submitted.”

A design group, including representatives of South Tyneside Council and its partners, is finalising exactly how the transport hub will look.

A report to Thursday’s full council, to be presented by Coun John Anglin, the authority’s lead member for regeneration and economy, says the transport interchange will be a “gateway” into the town centre.

It adds: “It will provide a high-quality gateway into the town centre and it is an integral part of the masterplan which seeks to re-order traffic movements and engender better pedestrian movements within the town centre.

“While the scheme is at an early stage the key partners are working together well in developing a project delivery plan, refining designs and identifying costs and savings.

“Work is ongoing for the submission of the bid for grant funding, without which the scheme may not be viable.”

Meanwhile, consultations are ongoing with bus operators Stagecoach and Go-Ahead over the design plan.