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Transport Interchange Reaches Final Destination

A multi-million pound transport interchange in South Tyneside will welcome its first passengers this weekend.

The £21million facility in South Shields, which incorporates a modern bus station and relocated Metro station, is to open to the public on Sunday morning.

The statement building, which is clad in striking copper shingle, has been under construction since April last year.

Its completion marks a major milestone in the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan being delivered by South Tyneside Council and partner Muse Developments.

Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "We're tremendously proud of this new facility, which has been delivered on schedule and is ready to welcome thousands of Great North Runners next month.

"First impressions count and the new interchange really does provide a smart, high quality arrival point into the town.

"Phase One of South Shields 365, The Word, has resulted in an additional 450,000 visitors a year coming to the town centre so providing first class public transport facilities and improved connectivity is vital.

"By investing in infrastructure and delivering fantastic facilities such as this we are stimulating confidence in the private sector to follow suit.

"Now we're refining our plans for Phase Three, which will provide an enhanced retail, leisure and housing offer to help create a vibrant town centre experience, day and night."

The landmark building, which is expected to be used by 7.5 million passengers a year, was designed by The Harris Partnership and constructed by Bowmer and Kirkland, who also built award-winning cultural venue The Word. The Word has welcomed over one million visitors since it opened in October 2016

Demolition of the existing Metro station and further public realm work will be completed following the opening.

David Wells, Regional Director of Muse Developments, said: "It's a great day for South Shields that marks the culmination of several years' work from the whole 365 team. The replacement of the old Metro station and development of an integrated interchange was a clear objective for the 365 regeneration programme, which has created a safer, more accessible facility for passengers, while providing a real sense of arrival for visitors.

"Complex projects like this are only successful when all partners are working together openly with the same goal in mind. It has been a pleasure to work with South Tyneside Council, Nexus, Bowmer and Kirkland, sister company, Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure among others on this phase of the wider scheme.

"At Muse, we firmly believe it's these partnerships that deliver truly exceptional places, and the new interchange here in South Shields is one we're extremely proud of." 

The facility will now be handed over to public body Nexus to manage.

Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus, said: "This new £21m transport interchange is a landmark development for South Shields. It represents a major investment in modern new facilities.

"Seven million passengers a year will use the interchange, which heralds a step change in quality for bus and Metro users. It provides a brighter, cleaner, and more comfortable environment which will help to attract more people into South Shields for shopping and leisure.

"Metro is part of everyday life in our region and we now have an entirely new Metro station in South Shields. It's a complete transformation in comparison to the old Metro station on King Street and I'm very much looking forward to our first Metro trains calling there.

"The development builds on the investment that Nexus has made in South Tyneside over the last few years, including refurbished stations and a new learning centre that we are building there for the training needs of our workforce."

The project received £9.4m from the Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "A good transport system is essential to the health of our regional economy. If we want to create more and better jobs in the North East, it's vital people and goods can travel quickly and efficiently around the region.

"The Metro is the UK's largest light rail system outside of London and it supports millions of journeys every year. Along with our extensive bus network, it's a hugely important resource for our region so the North East LEP was delighted to support the South Shields Interchange project with £9.8m from the Local Growth Fund. 

"Significant infrastructure developments like this are central to the success of the Strategic Economic Plan so it's great to see this project come to fruition."

The £270m Local Growth Fund - secured as part of the North East Growth Deal and delivered in partnership with the Northern Powerhouse - supports major capital projects across the North East LEP region that help achieve the objectives set out in the LEP's Strategic Economic Plan.

Projects and schemes supported by the Local Growth Fund are helping to boost the local economy, create more and better jobs and improve the quality of life for people living and working in the North East.

To find out more, visit www.nelep.co.uk/funding.

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