A new landing for the Shields Ferry has moved a step closer after £8.8m of funding was given the green light.
Nexus wants to relocate the north landing to Western Quay, bringing the ferry into the heart of the North Shields Fish Quay regeneration area, with easy links to the town centre and Riverside Walkway.
The project is being jointly funded by Nexus, the public body which owns and operates the cross-Tyne ferry service, and £5m from government’s Getting Building Fund, which is managed in the region by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.
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.
Nexus is carrying out a process of consultation before any plans are submitted for approval.
Director of Finance and Resources, John Fenwick, said: “This is really exciting development for the Shields Ferry and is a massive investment in order to secure the long-term future of an iconic local service.
“The proposed new ferry landing would be located in the Fish Quay regeneration area. The scheme has the potential to be transformative as we look to rebuild trade in a post-Covid-19 era.
“The project, when completed, would see the current North landing at River Drive closed completely. Services would run from Western Quay across to South Shields.
“Our current ferry landing in North Shields needs significant investment for it to have a future. Getting a new landing in a new location is much better value for money in the longer term and we are grateful to the North East Local Enterprise Partnership for providing the majority of the funding needed to deliver this exciting initiative.”
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: “The replacement of the North Shields ferry landing is one of the first Getting Building Fund projects to be given the green light in our region.
“It’s significant because it not only safeguards the ferry service but it further revitalises the North Shields Fish Quay, which is a hugely popular leisure destination and a key part of North Tyneside Council’s ‘Ambition for North Shields master plan’.
“Improving connectivity in the region is an important part of our Strategic Economic Plan to create more and better jobs in the North East and grow the region’s economy.”
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.