The next phase of works on a new £8.4m railway skills centre in South Shields has been given the go ahead.
In March, planning permission was granted for the Nexus Metro Maintenance and Renewals Skills Centre – a facility aiming to provide training to 1,000 people working on the rail system.
Its features include a mocked-up Metro station, 70-metre stretch of track for rail infrastructure training and a new computerised Metro driver training simulator.
South Tyneside Council’s planning committee has backed landscaping plans for the wider site which were withheld from previous applications.
The proposals covered grass seeding, “ornamental shrubs” and planting 45 new trees within the Nexus site.
The majority of the new trees will be based along the north eastern boundary between the application site and Fawcett and Petral Close, a report states.
It adds the works will “tidy up” and “improve the overall quality” of the site with new plants and trees providing screening from nearby homes.
The centre will be built on the existing Metro sidings between Mile End Road and Salem Street in South Shields and on the site of the town’s original railway station which closed when the Metro line was built in the early 1980s.
There will be space at the new training centre to stable a small number of Metro trains and carry out light maintenance outside of the main fleet depot in Newcastle.
The combined maintenance and training centre will consist of four training rooms which can be converted into two large classrooms.
Other facilities will include a double height reception, computer suite, offices, meeting rooms, a staff canteen and breakout area, store rooms and a conference room for 50 people.
Work on the new building is set to start next May and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2019.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service