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Developer profits during recession

with 7 comments

South Shields retail units sold

Henry Boot the development company responsible for the building of the Waterloo Square retail transformation at the foot of Garden Lane in South Shields has announced the sale of the four units which house BHS, Debenhams, River Island and Next to Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited. The £11.5m sale nets Boot a 5.8% premium on its investment and sees the purchaser paying £2.5m above the year end valuation for 2009.

As King Street suffers the effects of the recession, populated by mobile phone stores, charity shops, pound stores, and cardboard cut out imitation shops, and the former Asda store in Ocean Road remains empty, it is good to know that at least someone is profiting nicely from our once vibrant town centre, perhaps Henry Boot could be persuaded to redevelop everything from Coston Drive to Charlotte Terrace!

South Tyneside Council has talked for a number of years now about increasing and improving the links between King Street and the new developments either end of Coronation Street, there were tentative plans for a niche market project in the Chapter Row area, and of massive updates for the Market Place. Trouble is, these days, consultation and fine tuning takes years and years as the ruling Labour Party in South Tyneside fear dreadful consequences of decision making, they appear to be suffering a lack of leadership, and are driven more by the fear of failure than the desire to strive for success. The years of obfuscation, listening, consultation, planning, listening again, consulting again, rolling out road shows and endless waffling in Community Area Forums has had a stultifying effect on progressing the development of our town centre and other areas waiting for regeneration, such as Rekendyke/Frederick Street. (It is now four years since I first wrote here in response to South Tyneside Council’s plans, I warned against allowing another thirty years to roll by, and yet although land clearance is at last under way, in the intervening four years not a single sod of earth has been turned into a pile of bricks held together with mortar as forecast in the plans.)

It’s surely time to take some risks and make a few decisions, or should we just sit back and watch as our neighbours in Sunderland, North Tyneside and the Newcastle/Gateshead Partnership just sail past and leave us behind?

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Written by curly

March 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm

7 Responses

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  1. I hardly think that the Vaux site in Sunderland or the redevelopment of Whitley Bay seafront are sailing past the efforts of South Tyneside Council.

    cherry bear

    March 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    • Ah yes, there are always the odd exceptions to every rule, but we won’t exclude Newcastle Quayside, the Eldon Square extensions, Gateshead Quays, the Metro Centre, Team Valley Retail World, Washington Galleries, Sunderland’s Park Lane refurbishment, the banks of the Wear, Doxford Park, Wessington Way, the Royal Quays, North Shields’ town centre, North Shields’ river frontage, Cobalt Business Park, the Silverlink, all transformed in less time than we spent watching Rekendyke and Frederick Street decay.


      March 23, 2010 at 11:58 pm

  2. North Shields Town Centre? If there is an exception to the rule Curly North Shields town centre must be number one.

    The place consists of whole rows of closed shops, abandoned pubs and a small indoor shopping area that has as it’s busiest retail unit a Pound shop.

    Unlike us at the Durham side of the river North Shields Town Centre does not have an M & S, HMV or a large supermarket.

    I think I would have left North Shields Town Centre out of my reply if I had been you!


    March 23, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    • You are deliberately missing the point, and that is that the old place was demolished and then rebuilt many years ago in double quick time, admittedly using a lot of miner’s cash as investment, but it didn’t take them over thirty years to complete the project.
      Now give me a good estimate as to when the Frederick Street project will be completed (it was started way back in 1972 when “the long streets” were demolished).


      March 24, 2010 at 8:20 am

  3. I was not deliberately missing any point. I was just pointing out that your use of a very run down North Shields town centre to bolster your argument was a very bad decision.


    March 24, 2010 at 11:00 pm

  4. Of course shopping habits have changed since the heyday of Frederick Street. I lived in the area when first married and usd to shop there on Saturdays at the new ‘supermarkets’ like Fine Fare and Value Stores. You could walk along and get everything from baby clothes to the latest record. That was before the big supermarkets where you can get everything under one roof and shopping malls like Metrocentre.
    I remember people complaining when the local hardware shop Frank Lakes closed.The same people went to the likes of B&Q for everything they needed.
    People’s habits have changed and I’m afraid we can’t turn the clock back.


    March 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    • Of course change ought to be seen as constant, and more often than not it is for good reasons, but sometimes we need the pace of change to err…….quicken a little?


      March 28, 2010 at 8:47 am

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