South Shields market is an important part of South Tyneside Council's plans for town centre regeneration, Council officials have confirmed in a positive discussion with market traders today.
The market place is a key part of South Shields 365, the Council's ambitious vision for the town centre, with 1960s eyesore building Wouldhave House set to make way for a new central library and cultural centre as part of the £100m masterplan.
Redevelopment of the site will link the market place with the £2.3m Harton Quays Park and the Riverside area, as part of the plan which aims to make South Shields an exciting destination every day of the year.
David Cramond, the Council's Corporate Director for Regeneration, said: "We have had a very positive discussion and provided reassurance around a number of concerns.
Traders were happy with the temporary arrangements around the demolition programme, and there was strong support for closer joint working as we take the plans forward."
"We were also able to provide the traders with a more detailed artist's impression, which gives an idea of how the market might work in future."
The demolition programme is set to start this month, coinciding with the 'kipper season' - the winter period which is traditionally the quietest time of year for market traders. The work is expected to take around 14 weeks, with full capacity restored in time for the busy summer season.
Councillor Michael Clare, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council, said: "South Shields 365 is a bold vision for a radical redevelopment, with a new cinema, retail and leisure facilities, and the market is an important part of that vision.
"Only around a third of the market place will be closed off for safety reasons during the demolition programme, which means it will be possible to accommodate stalls within the remaining area, with occasional use of St Hilda's Square or other nearby sites if demand is unusually high.
"In the longer term, an improved market is expected to accommodate around 78 stalls, which is around the same number of stalls currently using the market on a good trading day in the summer.
"We are keen to work closely with the market traders as we develop the vision further, and have invited them to be part of a new South Shields 365 market committee which will help to steer the development."
For further details of the South Shields 365 masterplan, or to download a copy, log on to: www.southshields365.co.uk.