A key part of the regeneration of Wallsend town centre is preparing to open its doors.
The new Customer First Centre, part of the revamp of Wallsend Forum and adjacent area, will open in a few weeks.
The new facility will give local people better access to North Tyneside Council services, as well as a state-of-the-art library.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I know that people in Wallsend have been waiting for so many years to see the town centre improvement get underway, so I am delighted that they will soon eventually see things happen.
“The Customer First Centre will create a key focal point, as part of the refurbishment of Wallsend Forum, and will help give a new lease of life to the centre of Wallsend.
“It will be the start of some new exciting plans which are about securing the town’s future by ensuring Wallsend is a great place for people to live, work in and visit.”
The new Wallsend Customer First Centre, due to be handed over at the end of the month, will feature a library, computer area, customer service suite featuring payment kiosks for transactions with the council, three community rooms for hire, an art display area, public toilets, baby changing area and free wi-fi, with a cafe opening later in the year.
The centre completes the suite of four facilities in each part of the borough alongside Whitley Bay, North Shields and the White Swan Centre in Killingworth.
But the future of the former Wallsend Town Hall building is being considered as part of the council’s wider buildings review, with 80 staff, including the fostering and adoption team, being transferred to the Quadrant offices at the same time as the new Customer First Centre opens.
It is the latest project aiming to breathe new life into Wallsend town centre which also includes New River carrying out a major redevelopment of the Forum Shopping Centre, new affordable housing schemes delivered by the council, and the former Swan Hunters site being part of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Enterprise Zone.
• A quotation wall filled with classic lines from literature, film and music will be a feature at the new Wallsend Customer First Centre.
And residents are being invited to submit their favourite lines, which could be from modern or classic literature, children’s books, non-fiction works, plays, films or songs from any period.
Suggestions should be made by January 27, and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org