Residents in South Shields can look forward to a transformed town centre this year as key milestone developments are set to be completed.
Construction of the new library and digital media centre, The Word, is now well under way and is on schedule to open later this year.
The state-of-the-art facility will be the jewel in the crown of South Tyneside Council's £100m South Shields 365 regeneration scheme.
Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, said: "In addition to being a fantastic facility for residents of the Borough, this centre will also help to put the town on the map as the North East's premier coastal resort 365 days of the year."
The landmark building will boast an impressive range of facilities including exhibition space, computer gaming area, design and innovation studio with 3D printers, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children's immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café and a rooftop restaurant and terrace providing stunning views over the river.
In line with the key aims of the regeneration plan, it is hoped The Word, the North East centre for the Written Word, will inject new vitality into the town centre and encourage more people to the area to support local businesses.
Work to the nearby Market Place is also scheduled for completion this year. Improvements include an enhanced drainage system and new lighting as well as the installation of a canopy. The improvements are aimed at creating a civic space fit for the 21st century where events and activities can take place.
Next year (2017) will also see the start of work on site on the next phase of the 365 masterplan. A new Public Transport Interchange which will house both the metro and bus concourse will be built on Fowler Street and Keppel Street, providing a far more striking point of arrival to the town and improve connectivity between the various parts of South Shields.
Councillor Malcolm added: "Improving transport links between the town centre, the Foreshore and the Riverside allows us to deliver a leisure and cultural offer to residents and visitors that is unrivalled in the North East.
"The new Interchange will provide a seamless transition between the areas which we believe will encourage visitors to stay for longer and boost expenditure in the local economy."