North Shields Fish Quay and Blyth culture hub to get boost from North East devolution deal cash

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A redevelopment of North Shields and the building of a new cultural hub in Blyth will be among the next projects given cash from the North East’s new devolution deal.

The multi-billion pound agreement to hand new powers and funding to a regional mayor is expected to be given the final sign-off in Parliament this month, ahead of the mayoral election in May.

But local leaders are already signing off on projects that will get early money released in advance of the North East Mayoral Combined Authority being set up.

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A £3.3m grant is expected to be awarded towards the ongoing regeneration of North Shields – creating a pedestrian loop around the town’s shopping area to the Fish Quay and riverside.

A CGI of the new Blyth culture hub. Photo: Northumberland County Council.A CGI of the new Blyth culture hub. Photo: Northumberland County Council.
A CGI of the new Blyth culture hub. Photo: Northumberland County Council.

A further £2.5m will be put into Blyth, to help fund the creation of a new culture hub building on the site of the town’s former cinema and music hall.

The development will feature a three-screen cinema, a cafe, and performance spaces, while there are further plans for upgrades to the wider Market Place itself – including new green space, seating, and lighting.

Meanwhile, details of a “trailblazer” deal that could see the Government devolve even more powers to the North East and give the incoming mayoral authority more flexibility over its funding are expected to be confirmed soon.

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Such an enhanced arrangement could see the North East awarded a Whitehall department-style single financial settlement over which local leaders would have far greater control, akin to the deals already agreed with Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

More than £6bn of Government funding has already been committed for the 30-year North East deal.

In a joint statement, the leaders of the seven councils said: “This is about more than money – this is about investing in the future of our region and in our people. The public want to see real results so that’s why we have been working together now to get on with the job.

“Together this package of early investment will mean meaningful change for residents and businesses across the region. It’s a great start as we start to realise the additional benefits of the devolution deal and make a difference for communities across the region.”