Ambitious plans for a new transport hub with town square in North Shields and walkway linking the town centre to the Fish Quay have been submitted.
The proposals are part of North Tyneside Council’s Ambition for North Shields and the Fish Quay Masterplan, aimed at breathing new life into the town centre and riverside and providing the right environment to support businesses, leisure users and retail.
Community groups, residents and businesses have all been asked for their views to help refine the designs ahead of the plans officially being lodged.
The proposed transport hub will provide a modern and convenient, high-quality facility bringing all bus services in the town together and closer to Metro, taxis and links to cycling infrastructure – making it easier for people to choose cleaner, greener forms of travel. The proposals also include local amenities such as public toilets and a Changing Places facility.
The site will also feature a new open town square for events and leisure activities with new planting, creating a much-needed green space in the heart of the town centre and increasing biodiversity in an urban environment.
The proposed walkway will represent a vast improvement on the current stepped route with much-improved accessibility and will create a safer link between the improved town centre and vibrant Fish Quay.
It will feature green open spaces and different route options to suit different needs, including step-free routes and steps with handrails, as well as a direct route from top to bottom via steps.
Both schemes are subject to a successful funding bid to the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) through the Department for Transport.
Cllr Carl Johnson, Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “We are committed to transforming North Shields into somewhere people want to live, work and visit to help sustain the town for years to come.
“We’re now starting to see these ambitions coming to fruition with work getting underway on the ground. These are really exciting times for North Shields and there’s every reason to be optimistic for the future.
“Our investments in the proposed transport hub and town square and embankment walkway are absolutely vital to improving connectivity and helping create a vibrant and sustainable shopping environment, which will help attract new investment in the town.
“We have been sharing our plans with local communities and incorporating their feedback into the designs and will continue to listen to what people tell us as the projects evolve.”
The North Shields Masterplan, which was adopted by Cabinet in January 2021 following a full public consultation, features eight separate projects aimed at breathing new life into the town centre and attracting more people to live, work and visit as well as attracting private sector investment.
Sustainability and clean, green practices and credentials are at the heart of the design process across the Masterplan in line with the council’s action on climate change and ambitions to work towards the borough being carbon net-zero by 2030.
It is hoped that the transport hub will become the first net zero carbon building in North Tyneside and design work to achieve this is ongoing.
The facility has been designed with sustainability at the forefront through the use of materials, solar energy and the way surface water quality is managed.
Both schemes will be delivered by appointed construction partner Wilmott Dixon.
Nick Corrigan, North East Director for the firm, said: “We are proud to be playing our part in delivering a project that will be a catalyst for the regeneration of the town centre and create a new gateway for the people of North Shields. It really is a dynamic and sustainable design which will create a vibrant and innovative space for local people.
“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and through our 2030 ‘Now or Never’ sustainability strategy, we have pledged that by the end of 2030 all our new buildings and major refurbishments will achieve net zero operational carbon. The transport hub is a perfect example of how we can achieve those ambitions.
“We are focused on leaving a lasting legacy beyond bricks and mortar and that’s why we will be supporting the North Shields economy by using local businesses and creating local employment opportunities wherever possible.”
Planning committee will consider the applications next month (January 2021). A separate application to demolish the former Co-op and Marie Curie buildings in Bedford Street, leading to Railway Terrace, to make way for the proposed transport hub and town square has also been submitted.
Transport hub and town square:
The designs for the proposed transport hub include local amenities such as public toilets and Changing Places facility, a development opportunity and walkway linking to the town square in Bedford Street.
The transport hub will bring all bus services together in one place and aims to increase the number of people coming into the town. Creating a town square will provide attractive and enjoyable outside space.
Subject to planning permission and TCF funding bid, work on the transport hub and town square is expected to begin in early 2022.
Riverside embankment walkway:
The designs include a new, high-quality, landscaped area and safe, step-free ramped route – with some stairways to cope with increased use - between the town centre and Fish Quay.
This will extend the coastal promenade route to start at Northumberland Square, which will be linked via the pedestrian-friendly Howard Street. The scheme is subject to the outcome of a TCF funding bid and planning approval and work is due to begin in spring 2022.
Ambition for North Shields and the Fish Quay Masterplan:
The Masterplan will transform the town centre and riverside into an environment where people choose to live, work and spend their leisure time and create a vibrant and sustainable shopping offer.
It features eight separate ambitious projects, including:
- Gateway improvements: East Tynemouth Road and the Law Courts; South East Fish Quay/Brew House Bank; West Howdon Road/Coach Lane/Saville Street
- Transport Hub and new Town Square
- Public realm improvements at Bedford St and Saville St
- Northumberland Square redevelopment
- Howard Street Cultural Quarter
- Riverside Embankment Walkway
- Allocated housing sites: Tyne Brand mixed use site; Unicorn House residential
- Relocation of the Shields ferry landing