South Shields town centre is set for major transformation after a multi-million-pound college campus and student accommodation was given the green light.
Planning permission has been granted for a 14,000 sqm main building, student accommodation block and the refurbishment of a listed building on Barrington Street.
The plans will see South Tyneside College and South Shields Marine School relocating from its current Westoe site into the heart of the town centre.
The main building will be accessed on King Street, with a double-height glass atrium behind the reception entrance. A second entrance will be provided along Barrington Street, linking the building to the main campus, and a refurbished Grade-II-listed building will house part of South Shields Marine School.
Last month the council was awarded £20m from the third round of the Levelling Up Fund, to support the plans to revitalise South Shields town centre and riverside.
Public consultation, called the ‘Our South Tyneside Conversation’ was held last year and more than 80 per cent of the 1,300 residents who responded supported the idea of the college relocation.
Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “This is fantastic news and a real turning point for South Shields town centre.
“Our regeneration ambitions have focused on diversifying the town centre and boosting footfall. This development is going to bring in thousands of additional people and a new sense of vitality.
“We, and our partners at the college, are going to create a modern campus fit for the future, giving young people from across South Tyneside and beyond the skills they need to access jobs in leading industries such as the green economy.
“In our public consultation, a huge majority of people thought the college relocation would lead to a livelier town centre, helping to sustain new and existing businesses.
“It’s exciting that years of planning, assembling sites and developing infrastructure is coming to fruition and soon we’ll start to see real change.”
An application by Avant Homes to demolish the existing outdated facilities on the current college site at Westoe and build up to 260 homes and the associated infrastructure, was also approved by South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee.
Last year, the college successfully bid for £20m from the Department for Education’s FE Capital Transformation Fund.
Dr Lindsey Whiterod CBE, Chief Executive of Tyne Coast College, of which South Tyneside College and South Shields Marine School is part, said; “We are thrilled that plans have been approved.
“Our relocation to the centre of South Shields will provide outstanding programmes of education, aligned to employer needs, in the latest high-tech facilities, enabling us to offer the people of South Tyneside and the wider region the very best opportunities to further their careers, get into employment, progress in education or, simply learn something new.
“Not only that but, our new halls of residence will see our Marine School welcoming a diverse range of national and international students into the college and the borough.
“We’re delighted that the college will be a key part in the regeneration of South Shields and we can’t wait to see our plans get fully underway.”
The design will incorporate ‘active frontages’ with a teaching hair salon and café, helping to animate the high street. The main campus will feature state of the art marine simulators. Low carbon technology will be incorporated into the build wherever possible, and landscaping, including tree planting, grassed areas and a public square, will run throughout the campus site.