Changes needed for North Tyneside town centres to survive

More diversity is needed in town centres in order for them to survive over the next few years, councillors have been told.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:00 am
More diversity is needed in North Tyneside town centres.

A report to North Tyneside Council says there is “too much” shop space in the borough’s town centre.

The document, which looks at the future of retail and town centres, was produced by a group of councillors appointed to look at the issue.

It said the borough needs to draw up a blueprint outlining the future of its town centres over the next 10 to 15 years.

The report said: “The group have been told there is too much retail space in town centres.

This is common to many towns who have too much of the wrong type of retailing floorspace in terms of unit size and configuration.”

The group’s report said that for the borough’s town centres to survive they need to offer more to visitors, providing a mix of shops as well as leisure and cultural venues.

It added: “The town centres therefore need to adapt and broaden their offer to become “activity based community gathering places” and to “create areas where you want to be” seeking to provide a mix of commercial, leisure, health, cultural, employment and residential uses with pop up events and clusters of activity.

“However, it is acknowledged that this needs to be market led i.e.any broadening and diversification of the town centre offer has to be financially sustainable and provide outcomes which contribute towards our overall objectives to ensure the long term sustainability of our centres.”

It comes as an investigation revealed the borough’s empty businesses are costing the tax payer an average of £2,571,932.60 in lost rates each year.

And over the past five years £12,859,663 of potential rates income in the borough has been lost due to empty premises.

In the last financial year landlords in North Tyneside were exempt from paying £3,096,914 of rates under the scheme.

In 2018/19 the council collected £54,975,277.

However, the forecasts for financial year 2019/20 show that North Tyneside Council will collect £57,900,000 in business rates, losing £3,004,768 in rates relief.