Gazette readers have voiced concerns for the future of South Shields town centre after a decision was made to ditch a supermarket plan.
Businesses which would have been relocated as part of the phase four part of the £100million 365 masterplan have expressed relief after years of uncertainty were brought to an end over the proposals.
South Tyneside Council has confirmed it will no longer press on with the scheme, which would have seen land cleared between Fowler Street, Crossgate and Garden Lane, after previously saying it was to be delayed.
Phase one will see The Word, The National Centre for the Written Word, a library and digital centre in the Market Place, completed by the autumn, with the second section to see a new transport interchange built and the third improvements to shops and leisure facilities.
The Gazette revealed the supermarket plan had been axed after businesses after firms which had been faced with moving spoke of how the council had told them it would no longer be pressing on with the store plans.
But readers have now had their say.
I think all the complainers on here should just up sticks and move to another area, you never stop moaning, can’t you see we have a lovely town and now a new phoenix is rising from the ashes.Comment from reader Highfive
Comments left on the Gazette’s website included one from Gordon26 who said: “What a shock, I thought we had Waitrose and Harrods lined up to come into the town especially with the new transport terminal being built the gateway to South Shields - it’s a white elephant and will never take off.
“Let’s be honest, without the coastline, Shields would be a slum.”
Andy W said: “The council are totally useless and a waste of time, they cannot even fix the potholes which are all over the place never mind plan and develop a town centre.”
Poster 19Fabster73 said: “This isn’t about the council, this is about bringing South Shields town centre and surrounding areas back up to somewhere near their former glories.
“Personally I can’t see what’s not to get enthused about.
“We’ve got that fantastic looking new building in the Market Place that will attract people in from far and wide.
“I admit those shelters in the Market Place could have been designed better, but the whole area is looking fantastic in general.
“Ocean road has been given a makeover and looks tremendous lit up at night, the sea front and Mill Dam areas also.
“The new planned transport interchange is much needed as the Metro station is now looking a mess.
“There’s a new cinema and restaurant planned and the new retail outlets could and should attract plenty of businesses in, or back in, maybe even M&S which people love so much.
“I then believe that the private owners in King Street would finally be forced to do something about their properties that they have refused to maintain properly over time.
“But hey, all of this is happening under a Labour council so let’s slate it at every opportunity.”
Highfive said: “I think all the complainers on here should just up sticks and move to another area, you never stop moaning, can’t you see we have a lovely town and now a new phoenix is rising from the ashes. “Be happy for our folk, for heaven’s sake.”
Marcus P said: “The land set aside for the cancelled supermarket should be sold to private developers to build a Cleadon Vale-type housing project.
“Building good quality private housing in town centres has transformed Jarrow and areas north of the river.
“The elderly coves running this ‘regeneration project’ fail to grasp the concept of changing markets and effective demand.
“Building better quality private sector housing in the town centre will drive effective demand for businesses in South Shields which is simply not there at present.
“Spending money like a drunken sailor on poorly researched developments will not regenerate this town.”
Many of you also reacted to the story on our Facebook page.
Valerie Nichol said: ““It’s so pathetic, what a mess this town centre is in.”
Jennifer Hudson said: “I don’t know why they don’t just bulldoze the whole town there’s not much worth saving now.”
Janet Defty added: “Our councillors have run this town right down, the place is a virtual ghost town, why would people want to shop in Shields, you have to pay to park there’s no decent shops unless you want a pound shop a card shop or a phone shop.”
Andy Edward Morl raised the question: “If the supermarket isn’t going ahead now ask yourselves where the money allocated to build it is going?”
David Paulsen is also looking forward to the remaining plans coming to fruition: “The moaners are out in force on this post aren’t they?
“The Word looks brilliant, the new transport link will be amazing and any improvement to shops is a blessing.
“Ocean Road looks gorgeous, as does the sea front.
“How dare they improve South Shields.
“They’ve scrapped plans for the pointless part, yet another supermarket, when you have a large Asda, Morrisons, Iceland and Aldi all within minutes of each other why would we need another? “They’ve seen sense and realised that’s not needed. People would have more reason to loam if they spanked a fortune on a supermarket that wasn’t needed.”