Shopping centres in South Tyneside were put under the spotlight by experts looking at how the area could be improved.
The retail experts were invited to the Borough by consultants COMEDIA and their findings were discussed at a recent feedback session in South Shields Town Hall.
Peter Smith from surveyors Lamb and Edge, and Eric Reynolds from Urban Space Management saw considerable potential in the future of South Shields. They welcomed the shopping development planned by the Council at Coronation Street but stressed that it must be well linked to King Street which should have shelters for shoppers to dodge the showers. Routes from the Market Place to the Ferry Landing need to be made more attractive and Ocean Road must be seen as a further positive feature of the town centre's attractions.
Looking at Jarrow Town Centre the team felt that a full year was needed before the impact of Morrisons could be assessed. Some changes are inevitable, but the interest of Wilkinson's in the former Co-op is a very positive sign.
Hebburn Town Centre was seen as more difficult as it is less well managed than Jarrow, largely as a result of its absentee landlord, but there is some potential for growth by attracting a small supermarket.
Councillor Peter Boyack, Council Lead Member for Neighbourhood Renewal: "It is very useful to have an outsider's expert view on retail provision in the Borough. Some of the problems identified are not within the power of the Council itself to sort out, but we are keen to work with retailers, property owners and developers to make the most of our town centres, which play a major role in the life of the Borough."