Vandalism and track trespassing fears force change of plan for new South Shields transport interchange
Designers have gone back to the drawing board to overcome potential vandalism and trackside incursions at South Tyneside's new multi-million-pound transport hub.
They want to remove an external staircase from their original plans in a bid to deter trespassers from accessing the Metro network at the state-of-the-art interchange in South Shields.
The facility forms the centrepiece of South Tyneside Council’s £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan for the town centre.
The project is key to the council’s economic vision for the town to become the North-East’s premier coastal resort.
In all, the scheme’s designer, Wakefield-based The Harris Partnership Ltd, has made thirteen proposed changes to its original hub blueprint.
Others include the shortening of the rail station’s platform canopy, reconfiguration of entrance facades and a roof, and a size reduction in glazing panels on the Metro concourse.
Its design team also want to refine vehicle barriers and pedestrian railings in the bus bay area and remove roof lights to improve ease of access.
Glazing to the main entrance could also change to enhance the scale and proportion of the interchange, and a new entrance door is planned to help with maintenance and fire safety on the mezzanine level.
Combined, they make up a new planning application, submitted to the council but not yet approved.
The Harris Partnership’s application reveals the overall scale of the project remains unchanged, and it describes the changes as ‘minor modifications’.
Council chiefs announced South Shields 365 in January 2013.
Phase one started three months later, with the demolition of the 1960s eyesore building Wouldhave House in the market place.
By August, Muse Developments Ltd, one of the country’s leading names in urban regeneration, was appointed as the council’s development partner.
The following month, the first phase of the transformation was given the go-ahead by South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee.
In April 2015, construction work started on the town’s new library and digital media centre – now known as The Word, National Centre for the Written Word – in the market place
And in November, plans for phase two of the masterplan – a transport interchange - were given the green light.
Demolition of the existing Metro station will start in the autumn of 2019, with the new retail and leisure development also getting underway.