Frequently asked questions about South Shields regeneration
Frequently asked questions about South Shields regeneration
Q. What is happening with Riddicks?
We have refurbished the building, retaining its distinctive façade, and are currently seeking investors proposals which will see it brought back into use.
Q. Why doesn't the council do a hotel instead?
We are in advanced discussions about plans for a leisure and accommodation development at Pier Head Yard - this would of course be subject to the planning process. We always look to provide the best end use to any site we own to maximise benefits to the residents, Town Centre and wider Borough. We have strong links to the hospitality sector and remain in regular contact with them to understand their requirements and future plans
Q. If the Glassworks isn't going ahead will the EZ office space still happen?
Not proceeding with Glassworks is the prudent decision at this time, but it does not change our long-term aspirations for the town.
We remain confident that there will be demand for office space once the impact of Covid / Brexit on the office market and construction costs have settled down
This will give us the opportunity to develop a scheme that reflects tenant requirements and working patterns in a post Covid world.
Q. Does this decision impact the thinking around redeveloping the town centre
This is just one part of a much bigger picture.
The council has been hugely successful in attracting millions of pounds of external funding for a range of other schemes projects in the area, including £1.85m of Brownfield Land Release Funding at Holborn Riverside, a further £9.4m from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the delivery of a future phase of office accommodation at Holborn and £6m from the Future High Street Fund to acquire land and property needed to facilitate the delivery of new homes within walking distance of the town centre.
The council is prioritising projects that will generate jobs and boost the local economy but will only proceed where they are both financially viable and sustainable in the long-term.
Alongside South Tyneside College, the council is awaiting a decision on bids for Department for Education to relocate the college to South Shields town centre.
Q. Is the Council still committed to investing in the town centre / creating job opportunities etc?
Yes, very much so. There's still a lot going on and a lot to be excited about. Increasing footfall is still paramount - we're looking at various ways to do this, through increasing the residential population, hospitality and the potential college move.
The council will focus on unlocking land for redevelopment and creating the environment and infrastructure for private sector investment, in line with its key priorities of investing in the natural and built environment, creating the conditions for recovery and investment and supporting town centres and villages.
Q. What's happening to the site now? What is going in its place and will there be consultation on the new proposals?
We are already looking at options for the site, whilst this is at an early stage there are exciting opportunities to strengthen the link between the Riverside and the Town Centre
As plans are developed, we will consult with residents on refreshed proposals for the site.
Q. 365 Plans for Phase 3 (Barrington Street site) What is happening now?
Due to changes in shopping habits and the impact of Covid, the previous scheme is no longer viable. The Council is currently working on new proposals for the town centre and developing grant funding bids which will help bring about positive change. We will be consulting with residents and local businesses on these plans in due course
Q. Why doesn't the council put the money into buying the shops in King Street and turn them into office accommodation?
We know that town centres have to evolve and move away from traditional retail dominated high streets and provide a more diverse offer. The Council has and will continue to invest in the town centre. Whilst we have secured almost £6m in FHSF funding, which we are using to acquire properties and land within walking distance of the town centre, further investment will be needed by both the public and private sectors going forward. As the vast majority of property on King Street is in private ownership we are open to working with existing owners to explore ways of supporting the high street.
Q. What are you doing in Hebburn and Jarrow?
Over the last decade, the council has invested significantly in public buildings across all three of our towns, future proofing the facilities people rely on. We've created the infrastructure and environment to generate confidence in the private sector to invest. We will continue to do that, unlocking land for development and focusing on our public realm, while acting as enable and influencer.
Q. Holborn - Why is building on the field is the only way to make the entire regeneration financially viable?
This is a brownfield site that has previously been developed and it needs to be considered holistically. Some areas of the site are much more challenging and expensive to develop than others.
This was considered when finding a development partner. In order to get the strongest, most transformational proposals the site needs to be attractive to the market. It meant including this area within the overall site to provide the number of homes required to make the new development viable.
Q. Why are you ignoring the petition against building on Holborn Riverside Field specifically, and why are you failing to offer solutions to the green space/ environmental/ traffic problems this is going to cause.
The Holborn residential site includes the re-provision of the play area and a new promenade through to Harton Quays Park. There have been wider improvements in public space in the surrounding area such as Harton Quays Park and the enhanced public realm around Trinity South / Frederick Street (the Linear Park).
Q. What if college doesn't come off and you've scrapped 365 Phase 3? What then?
Then we'll reassess the market and bring back a revised master plan.
We've known for some time that the high street that is centred solely around traditional retail is a thing of the past, and Covid has hugely accelerated that decline.
The pandemic has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate our plans so that they can be flexible and adaptable to the changing nature of town centres and the market.
Flexibility is a good thing. There's no point blindly following ambition if it isn't viable.
We've already shown ourselves to be flexible with great success and we must listen to the market.
Regeneration evolves and as a council we need to provide space and opportunity for private investment.
Q. What about the offices at South Tyneside House/ Westoe Road - can't they be made high end?
Unfortunately, these are not in Council ownership
Q. Why does the Council not reduce business rates or the business rent?
The Council is not responsible for setting business rates so has no direct influence over them. On rents - as the units on King Street are in private ownership the rents are set by landlords. Unfortunately the Council isn't able to influence them.
Q. How can I have my say and when?
We're committed to bringing residents and businesses on the journey with us.