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Compulsory purchase order confirmed

South Tyneside Council has welcomed a decision by the Secretary of State confirming the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) made by the authority for South Shields town centre.

The council sought the CPO to secure ownership of remaining land and properties in the town centre redevelopment area which are not in council ownership.

Acquiring the outstanding interests is necessary to allow the next phases of the South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan to go ahead.

Planning permission has already been granted for phase two of the £100m scheme, a state-of-the -art transport interchange and outline planning permission has been gained for phase three, new retail and leisure development.

A Stopping Up Order, which will enable all the associated highways work to proceed, has also been confirmed.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "We're delighted that the Secretary of State has confirmed the Compulsory Purchase Order.

"This is an endorsement of the South Shields 365 masterplan as a credible, deliverable scheme that will inject renewed vitality and bring economic and social benefits to the town.

"Phase one, The Word, is proving phenomenally successful and bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors into the town centre and now we are looking forward to pressing ahead with the next stages which will complete the town's journey of transformation."

He added: "The council has been working closely with owners and tenants to secure the land and properties it needs to facilitate the regeneration.

"We would always prefer to do this by negotiation but that has not been possible in all cases.

"There has been a tremendous amount of hard work going on behind the scenes to plan the infrastructure required for the next phases and now we have the CPO decision we can press ahead without delay."

The confirmation of the CPO by the Secretary of State does not mean the CPO land now automatically belongs to the council.  The council must go through further legal processes to obtain ownership and possession of the properties. Affected landowners will be compensated for the value of their interests.

Progress to prepare for the next phase of the scheme is continuing. The Post Office has confirmed that, following a significant refurbishment of the former Officers Club unit, it will be relocating its branch from Keppel Street to King Street. Work on the Royal Mail's new sorting office at Laygate is also progressing at a pace.

Work will also begin - subject to a successful funding bid - on Nexus' railway skills academy towards the end of the year. Demolitions will get underway later this year in anticipation of a start on site for the transport interchange next spring.

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