Date Published

18/10/2022

Reading time

3 Mins read

We’re helping North Tyneside Council to transform North Shields town centre by identifying key development projects that bolster its culture and economy.

Online shopping and remote working are just two of the reasons why town centres are changing. Although there isn’t a butcher, baker and grocer on every high street now, our town centres can still be vibrant community hubs that enrich the culture and local economy.

North Shields town centre is eight miles from Newcastle on the bank of the River Tyne. It has a rich maritime history, but fewer people are choosing to shop and socialise there now. North Tyneside Council wants to change this by transforming the town centre and its nearby riverside into a smaller, more vibrant destination and a place where people choose to spend their leisure time.

To achieve that vision, the council needed a bold and ambitious masterplan. In 2019, it asked Capita to identify and prepare design briefs for key projects that would create growth and form the basis of its draft masterplan. It also asked us to contribute to a:

  • Property market review which assessed how people used the food and drink outlets in comparison with similar towns.
  • Property acquisition strategy that considered options for joint ventures, compulsory purchase orders and partnerships with key landowners to bring more buildings into use.
  • Preliminary risk assessment of selected sites in the town centre.

 

Our property and infrastructure experts initially identified 12 projects - aligned with the council’s ambitions - and presented outline concept designs. We refined these options with the council and reduced them to eight priority projects, which included:

  • Creating a public transport hub to make it easier for people to travel to and from the town.
  • Improving public spaces, enabling the town to host more events and festivals.
  • Increasing the number of homes by converting disused buildings.
  • Relocating the Shields Ferry landing to bring it closer to the quay.

 

The plans included creating a cultural quarter, by improving public spaces and restoring key heritage buildings, plus a riverside walkway to link the town centre to Fish Quay. The cultural quarter will provide an attractive place for visitors with lots of events on offer day and night. We helped the council secure external funding for the works through developing business cases for the applications.

Following public consultation, the council’s cabinet approved the draft masterplan in January 2021 and regeneration work is well underway. As one of the council’s construction partners, we recently reinstated original design features in the historic Northumberland Square and made high-quality improvements to Howard Street and the surrounding area.

 

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