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Re-Imagining The Riverside

As part of the ongoing work to produce a Transformational Plan for the Borough, the South Tyneside Transformation Commission, chaired by Charles Landry of consultants Comedia, has been gathering evidence this week on the future of South Tyneside's riverside.

Comedia is an urban policy consultancy, which has worked in towns and cities in over 30 countries over the last 25 years. It specialises in places which are undergoing dramatic industrial or social change, helping communities to define new vision and direction.

Comedia was invited to South Tyneside by the borough's Local Strategic Partnership, and given a free hand to seek diverse views and opinions and propose new ideas for the future of the area.

On Monday and Tuesday ( May 6th and 7th) a Riverside Commission comprising Professor David Pinder (University of Plymouth and international authority on marine industry and sustainable transport) and Professor Peter Roberts (University of Dundee and international expert on urban regeneration) gathered evidence from a wide range of riverside users and interest groups.

These included representatives of the Regional Development Agency, Government Office North East, Nexus, Bede's World, Northern Arts and South Tyneside College, together with a number of business representatives ranging from developers to industrialists.

Today ( May 8th) the Commission will present their findings with proposals for how a future Strategy for the riverside might be shaped. The presentation of the findings will take place at South Shields Town Hall at 3.00pm in the main Reception Room and will be open to any interested members of the public.

The group will be examining issues such as what the futures options for the river Tyne and its southern bank, in terms of old industry, new industry and non-industrial activity? How can the people of South Tyneside re-possess their riverside?

The Riverside Commission is the first of a series of Commission enquiries into key issues, which have emerged from COMEDIA's interim findings. The aim of the Commissions are to focus attention and intensify debate around key issues facing the Borough, including retailing, business and industry, social enterprise, young South Tyneside, design of buildings and places, regeneration and enterprise.

Further details of the other Commissions will be published shortly. Comedia have compiled an interim report on their first impressions and findings which will be published in the next week. Their full Transformational Plan will be launched at the end of June.

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