BACK to the future plans to reintroduce street trams in South Tyneside could move a step closer to reality next week.
Talks on the proposals, and how they could be funded, are to take place next week between borough council leader Coun Iain Malcolm and the new chief of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, it has emerged.
Ambitious plans for on-street trams were originally revealed in March this year.
The council wants to see trams running from South Shields town centre to Harton and Cleadon Village, which could then feed into an extended Metro network.
Coun Malcolm has said he wants a tramway, and at the meeting with Nexus he will be discussing the technicalities.
The council leader sees the project as part of the council’s 365 Masteplan, a 10-year vision to revitalise the town centre.
That plan involves increasing the number of visitors to the town and “creating better connectivity” with outlying villages so that people from Sunderland and Cleadon can get through to South Shields.
Nexus, the Metro operator, has ambitions to expand the network, opening up new stations, as well as investing £300m in new trains.
A Nexus spokesman said: “We are looking forward to working with Coun Malcolm to explore plans for future extensions of the Metro system in South Tyneside.
“Any future extension, including the option of street-running trams, would require substantial funding from Government.
“A robust business case will need to be put before ministers once all the options for expanding Metro have been explored in greater detail.”
Coun Malcolm declined to comment to the Gazette.