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

North Tyneside Council was 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 the transformation of the historic Howard Street and Northumberland Square areas of North Shields as part of The Ambition for North Shields Masterplan, developed with £200,000 support from the North of Tyne.

For more information, follow the An Ambition For North Shields page on Facebook.

In addition, Nexus has secured more than £5m from the Getting Building Fund to move the landing for the cross-Tyne ferry service to Western Quay.

This will bring the ferry to the heart of the Fish Quay with easy links to the town centre and a proposed riverside walkway.

The North Shields Masterplan aims to revitalise North Shields town centre and the Fish Quay by creating a more vibrant, connected environment where people will choose to live, work and visit.

The Masterplan was given the go-ahead by North Tyneside Council in January, following a public consultation.

“Our ambitious plans will transform North Shields town centre and the riverside,” North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside Councillor Bruce Pickard said.

“It 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.”

The changes to Northumberland Square and Howard Street will complement proposals which are part of North Tyneside Council’s 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.

The Masterplan describes eight projects that include enhancing the appearance of key areas of North Shields, 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.

There are also proposals for high-quality housing at key locations and moving the North Shields ferry landing to Western Quay.

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