Plans for the first phase of the £100m regeneration in South Shields were given the go-ahead today after being approved by South Tyneside Council's planning committee.
Development partners, Muse Developments, one of the country's leading names in urban regeneration, and South Tyneside Council have now been given the green light to begin actual construction on Phase One of regeneration plans that will transform South Shields Town centre.
The first phase of development in the £100m "365 Master Plan" will include the construction of a new Central Library and Digital Media Centre near Ferry Street on the Riverside as well as improvements to the adjoining Market Place. A new 40 space car park will also be constructed on vacant land on Harton Quays as part of the works.
Following consultation with local residents, businesses and interested parties the planning application was submitted in June 2014 with a view to transforming South Shields town centre. Work on the new development will begin early in 2015 with the aim of the building being open to the public in the middle of 2016. Further consultation will take place with businesses and market traders over the next few months in the run up to starting on site.
South Tyneside Council's planning committee considered factors such as the local economy, environment, employment opportunities and benefit to the wider community in their decision.
Future phases of the £100million "365 Master Plan" regeneration of the town centre, will include increased shopping and leisure provision, the development of a new travel interchange all with the aim of improving community life in South Shields.
Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "This heralds the beginning of the transformation of South Shields town centre.
"We know we have the support of residents and businesses and it's great that work can now begin in earnest to start turning our vision into reality.
"Our plans will reinvigorate the town centre, attract investment and create a sustainable future."
David Wells, Development Director at Muse Developments, commented, "We're absolutely delighted that the planning committee has given the go-ahead for this first phase after a long period of public consultation. The next step is the tender process to appoint a building contractor with actual work hopefully beginning early next year."
"The development of the new Central Library and Digital Media Centre will create a superb and unique facility for the town whilst the redevelopment of the Market Place will breath new life into an important South Shields tradition. This is just the first phase, however, of the town's exciting 365 plan which will link up the town centre, the Foreshore and the Riverside areas."
Martin Swales, Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council, said: "This is about creating an outstanding offer for South Shields.
"Our ambitious plans will position the town as a vibrant year-round retail and leisure destination.
"The new Central Library and Digital Media Centre will drive footfall into the town centre and act as a catalyst for further private sector investment and growth.
"This represents a significant step forward in our South Shields 365 masterplan and I'm delighted that Planning Committee has recognised the benefits this development will bring."
For more information about the Regeneration of South Shields and the 365 Master Plan please go to: www.southshields365progress.com