Littlehaven prom at night
Throughout the financial challenges of recent years, here at South Tyneside Council we’ve held our nerve. Far from shying away from taking risks, we’ve stayed true to our vision for the future with ever bolder ambition.
Our twin formula of investment and innovation to deliver outcomes is paying dividends. We are creating the right conditions for businesses to flourish, giving the private sector the confidence to invest and providing local people with jobs and opportunities. As a local authority, we have taken on the leadership challenge and are driving transformational change in our communities. Our visionary approach – and the positive outcomes – has earned us a place on the shortlist for the LGC’s Council of the Year award.
By placing regeneration at the heart of everything we do, we are creating a long-term, sustainable future for South Tyneside. Since embarking on our programme of regeneration in 2010, £604m of capital investment has been made, with a further £350m planned by 2020. We’re seeing genuine jobs growth too; our employment rate has improved by 7.7 per cent since 2010 and there are 30 per cent fewer JSA claimants.
Last year saw significant milestones reached in a number of key projects. The first phase of our award-winning £100m South Shields 365 regeneration scheme was completed on time and to the very highest design standards with the opening of ‘The Word’, the National Centre for the Written Word. This cultural venue, which further enhances South Tyneside’s outstanding visitor offer, attracted almost 21,000 people in its first week. Within a month of opening, The Word won Living North’s prestigious Best Regeneration or Restoration Award and was described as an ‘iconic space’ which is ‘a real beacon for our region’. The national acclaim it has received reinforces the Borough’s reputation as a destination of culture. We’re delighted that BT and the Port of Tyne, with whom we already have a history of partnership working, are supporting the venue with sponsorship.
Adding to the regeneration success we’ve already experienced with delivery of flagship projects at our Riverside and Foreshore, including the multi-award-winning £5m Littlehaven Promenade and Sea Wall and £16m Haven Point leisure centre, The Word will drive footfall into the town centre and act as a further catalyst for private sector investment. Linking activities in these three distinct, but complementary, areas of the town is encouraging visitors to stay longer and creating greater expenditure in the local economy.
Investment in other parts of the Borough is also stimulating private sector confidence. In Hebburn the £13m state-of-the-art community facility Hebburn Central heralded a new chapter for the town, with retailer Aldi set to start construction on a new store in the town, bringing with it jobs in construction, retail and the supply chain.
We have secured an additional Enterprise Zone site at Holborn Riverside, which will create a high-quality employment site with the potential of up to 1,500 jobs and boost spending on local infrastructure. This development will allow us to expand our provision of Grade A office accommodation and industrial premises, allowing companies currently located in managed workspace to grow and encouraging inward investment in services supporting key growth sectors such as marine, energy and high value manufacturing.
Working with our partner Sunderland City Council, we are on track to deliver the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which is expected to attract more than £300m of private sector investment and create 5,200 jobs in the first phases. The park will not only create much needed highly skilled jobs in the automotive, offshore and other hi-tech sectors but will build on our strong manufacturing heritage. Our region is renowned for being at the forefront of manufacturing and the IAMP will capitalise on our unrivalled skills base and further cement our international reputation in this field. The Government has also approved several improvements to upgrade the A19 corridor, strengthening important transport links to the site and between Sunderland and South Tyneside.
We’ve continued to invest in housing and neighbourhoods, with the annual highest number of homes built during 2015-16 in a decade. Our Decent Homes programme has reached completion with over 18,000 properties being brought up to the decent homes standard and beyond thanks to over £300m of investment. An additional £8.4m was invested in our Housing Plus schemes for older people, including state-of-the-art facilities and sensory rooms for people with dementia.
South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust is making excellent progress towards its target of delivering 400 homes in five years. The Trust has built 88 new properties, and has bought a further 50, plus 20 empty private sector homes to bring them back into use. We’ve established a Housing Development Company, to build and sell homes for profit. Alongside South Tyneside Homes and the Ventures Trust, the company will help us deliver new high quality homes to meet growing demand and create sustainable mixed tenure neighbourhoods.
By reinvigorating town centres, securing major infrastructure improvements, delivering affordable housing, supporting people to access skills and jobs, and building facilities which will make South Tyneside an outstanding place for investment, we’re well ahead of programme to deliver our 2030 Future Vision.
For more information visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk