Demolitions are underway in South Shields town centre, clearing the way for the new transport interchange.
Excavators have moved in to pull down the former Post Office and Royal Mail building and the former Dawson and Sanderson travel agents on Keppel Street.
The programme of demolitions, which will take around three months, is necessary to facilitate Phase Two of the Council’s £100m regeneration masterplan.
Work will start on site next Spring to construct the transport interchange, which will bring together a new bus interchange and relocated, refurbished Metro station.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “Phase Two of our masterplan is gathering pace and people will start to see physical changes happening around the town now.
“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of new visitors attracted to the town centre, thanks to The Word and our other regeneration successes on the Foreshore and Riverside.
“Creating a high quality sense of arrival; enhanced public transport facilities and improved connectivity is crucial.”
The Council will be working alongside its development partner, Muse Developments, and Nexus to develop the interchange.
David Wells, Regional Director at Muse Developments, said: “The demolitions are a major step to clear the way for the construction of the transport interchange - it’s a complex project for which the background work has been going on for many months so it’s great to see the construction phase now getting closer.
“The end result will be a superb and modern public transport facility that will benefit both local residents and visitors alike.”
Planning permission was granted last year for the transport interchange, as well as outline planning permission for Phase three, new retail and leisure development.
Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “These demolitions mark the start of the work to provide South Shields with a modern and vibrant new bus and Metro interchange, which we believe will help attract more people to the town centre for shopping and leisure.
“We are excited to be working alongside South Tyneside Council and its partners to deliver this project, which will see Metro and bus facilities in South Shields transformed alongside the rest of the town centre.”
Bowmer and Kirkland, the company which helped deliver The Word in Phase One of the masterplan, has been appointed demolition contractor.
The project received £9.4m from the Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport across the North East LEP area.