Exciting plans to breathe new life into North Shields have been handed a multi-million pound funding boost.

North Tyneside Council has been awarded £3.5m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which is managed in the region by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). It will see a number of major improvements made to the Howard Street and Northumberland Square areas.

In addition, Nexus has secured more than £5m to relocate the landing for the cross-Tyne ferry service to Western Quay to bring the ferry to the heart of the Fish Quay with easy links to the town centre and proposed riverside walkway.

It’s all part of the council’s Ambition for North Shields master plan, aimed at transforming the town centre and riverside into an environment where people choose to live, work and spend their leisure time by creating a smaller, more vibrant, and connected town centre

The changes to North Shields’ historic areas of Northumberland Square and Howard Street will complement the proposals which are part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) project.

They include creating an attractive and more pedestrian-friendly route along West Percy Street between Northumberland Square and Bedford Street.

The appearance of historic Howard Street will also be improved, again making it more appealing for pedestrians, and trees will be planted lining the street.

High-quality natural materials and street furniture will be used that are in keeping with the conservation area and will complement the style used for the rest of the area covered by the master plan.

It comes after the council’s Cabinet earlier this week (Monday 25 January) approved the final version of the master plan, which has been shaped and informed by feedback received during consultation.

Cllr Bruce Pickard, Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside and cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Our ambitious plans will transform North Shields town centre and the riverside and will greatly benefit communities and businesses by attracting more people there and creating somewhere to be proud of, which is more vital now than ever before as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our successful bid to the Getting Building Fund is another great piece of news following our other recent successful funding bid to the High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme as well as the approval from Cabinet to press ahead with the plans.

“We also look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Nexus to relocate the ferry landing into the master plan area, which will complement the work to transform the area and help secure the long-term future of this important service.”

The Getting Building Fund is part of government’s package of financial support to kick-start the economy, create jobs and help areas facing the biggest economic challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “North Shields, and in particular North Shields Fish Quay, has gone through a dramatic transformation in recent years and has become a popular visitor destination.

“The funding from government’s Getting Building Fund will support North Tyneside Council’s broader masterplan for the area, which aims to turn the town centre and Fish Quay into an attractive, family friendly destination with a year round cultural offer; helping to attract further investment and create more and better jobs in the area.

“The Getting Building Fund has invested heavily in North Tyneside, with more than £5m being awarded to Nexus to create a new North Shields ferry landing in the heart of the Fish Quay. Both investments are great news for North Tyneside and the wider region as they will support the North East’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “Our plans to locate a new Shields ferry landing at the Western Quay will play a big role in the ongoing regeneration of North Shields town centre.

“As our region starts to recover from the impact of Covid-19 over the coming years the ferry will provide a vital link between communities. The scheme has the potential to be transformative, helping to drive footfall into this important regeneration area.

“The ferry project, when completed, would see the current North landing at River Drive closed completely. Services would run from the Fish Quay across to the South Shields landing. It’s an exciting project and it is one we are going to consult widely on before bringing forward more detailed plans.”

The Ambition for North Shields master plan includes plans to enhance the appearance of key areas, creating a new transport hub and interchange and town square to host events, markets and performances, improved walking and cycling routes in the town centre, a new cultural quarter based around a traffic calmed Howard Street and riverside walkway linking the town centre to the Fish Quay.

The North East LEP region was awarded £47m through the Getting Building Fund with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership increasing the fund to £55m by releasing an additional £8m from the North East Investment Fund.

The 18 projects put forward for the North East LEP area are expected to create more than 4,000 construction and permanent jobs; unlock more than 19,000 sqm of commercial space; assist more than 3,000 learners; improve or construct 4.2km of roads, cycle lanes and walkways; and further strengthen the North East’s green energy sector.

The government’s £900m Getting Building Fund was announced in August 2020 to provide investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects across the country.

Find out more about the Getting Building Fund.

Find out more about the North East LEP.

Find out more about the Ambition for North Shields master plan.

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