Plans for a new supermarket for South Shields town centre are being deferred as a result of changing trends in the retail sector.
The original proposals for the 365 Masterplan for the town centre included plans for a high quality food store at the back of Fowler Street. However, a drop in the demand for big supermarkets has led to this phase, which was scheduled for 2018 - 2019, now being deferred to a later date. The Council will therefore not be seeking to acquire any further properties in this phase of the regeneration in the near future.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of the Council, said: "As a Council, we are one hundred per cent committed to our ambitious plans to transform the town centre and I would like to assure people that the 365 regeneration project is still very much on track.
"Our state-of-the-art new library and digital media centre, The Word, the North East Centre for the Written Word, is on schedule to open this Autumn and this innovative centre will draw in more visitors to South Shields and boost the town's economic fortunes.
"Work will begin on our new Transport Interchange next year which will enhance connectivity to the key areas of the town and we remain committed to delivering the third phase of the Masterplan to bring new leisure and retail facilities to the heart of the town centre."
Councillor Malcolm added: "Unfortunately, the retail market has seen a number of changes in recent years as customers are increasingly transferring their spending on food to smaller convenience stores and online shopping.
"We still believe that there is room in the town for another supermarket of high quality but we must work towards this goal in the context of a changing retail market.
"It is still the Council's intention to pursue redevelopment of this land in the longer term. We will continue to work with businesses, landowners and our development partner, Muse, to realise our ambitions."
David Wells, Regional Director at Muse Developments, added: "We are working very closely with the Council on Phases II and III of the regeneration plan and will keep an ongoing dialogue with retailers regarding Phase IV."