Plans have been in the works for years to move the ferry’s northern landing to a new spot in the heart of the North Shields Fish Quay.
But the scheme was thrown into doubt last summer when the bulk of the funding for it collapsed, with operator Nexus unable to take a promised £5.6m from the government’s Getting Building Fund because of “strict” conditions that would have required the project to be completed by spring this year.
Almost a year on from that major blow, transport chiefs are still searching for replacement funding.
And, with the existing north jetty rapidly deteriorating, there are warnings that a failure to build the replacement downstream would mean the ferry would have to close.
A proposed new northern ferry landing at Western Quay could be put forward in a bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund by Nexus and North Tyneside Council.
The famous river crossing is used by around 400,000 people a year and ferries are thought to have carried people across the Tyne for at least 750 years.
Nexus customer services director, Huw Lewis, said: “We want the Shields Ferry to have a bright future with a new landing at the heart of the regenerated North Shields Fish Quay.
“Nexus is working jointly with North Tyneside Council to secure funding for a new landing.
“As things stand the development is unfunded, but we are in the process of exploring all possible Government funding streams.
“The current ferry landing in North Shields is rapidly declining and in a few years it will become unsafe. If we don’t secure the funds for a new landing by 2025 then this vital link between communities could be lost.
“Local community leaders are all backing the bid to build the new ferry landing and positive discussions with the government will continue to press the case for this vital project, which will protect eight centuries of maritime heritage on the River Tyne.”
The entire project is expected to cost £8.8m, with Nexus having previously agreed to spend £3.2m of its own money to supplement the government offer.