Ambition for North Shields


North Tyneside Council has always been about ambition. Our plans for North Shields are no different.

Through a series of bold proposals through the draft North Shields master plan we aim to transform the town centre and riverside into an environment where people choose to live, work and spend their leisure time.

The draft masterplan recognises the unique challenges and opportunities facing North Shields and aligns to the key priorities and objectives as set out by the Elected Mayor and her Cabinet.

By improving public transport as well as improving pedestrian and cycle access between the town and riverside we will create a neighbourhood to be proud of.

By creating new green spaces and revitalising Northumberland Square we will make the town an attractive place to spend time.

We will create opportunities for a mix of new housing to make a community that sustains North Shields for decades to come.

The council will lead this plan by supporting the innovation of the community and businesses and working effectively with partners and investors - and engaging with communities - to ensure our ambition is realised.

The draft masterplan has been approved by Cabinet for consultation purposes – to be developed further and developed in line with planning processes (in dialogue with our partners and investors, our local businesses and community).

We hope to publish the final masterplan this winter and the adopted masterplan will set the context and direction for individual projects and developments as they come forward and provide the certainty and clarity required by funders and investors.

What's in the proposals

There are a number of different long-term proposals included as part of the master plan, all of which are subject to consultation, timing and funding:

  1. A new transport hub and interchange to include: a new bus station with covered concourse and canopy connecting to the Metro station and redesigned public realm outside Metro station and along Nile St.
  2. A new town square at Railway St / Nile St by the Metro station to provide a civic space in the heart of the town for events and other activities with potential to create an undercover link to the Beacon Centre.
  3. Public realm improvements on Bedford Street and Saville Street to revitalise the town centre and form a well-connected walking and cycling route across the town centre. Existing bus stops at the bottom of Bedford Street would be removed to improve access to the Beacon Centre.
  4. Regeneration of Northumberland Square to create a stunning centrepiece of the town and a flexible space to host new leisure uses with improvements sympathetic to the square’s heritage.
  5. Pedestrianise the northern end of Howard Street and improvements to the appearance of the Conservation Area to complement Northumberland Square and create an expanded leisure and cultural offer.
  6. A bold riverside walkway linking the town centre – the improved space at Howard St in particular - to the Fish Quay.
  7. Housing developments at key sites, including the former Tyne Brand site and Unicorn House, to create a vibrant town centre housing market and address housing issues.
  8. Relocating the Shields ferry landing to Western Quay to link better to the town centre and proposed riverside walkway.
  9. Public realm improvements at key gateway sites, namely East Tynemouth Rd (by the law court), south east Fish Quay / Brewhouse Bank, and the West Howdon Rd / Coach Lane / Saville St junction, as well as highways improvements.

What we’re doing now

Various schemes are already underway to improve the town centre and surrounding area, including:

  • Northumberland Square housing development: a £5.6m scheme to restore a row of listed Georgian terraced properties is ongoing and due for completion later in 2020.
  • Wooden dolly restoration: the much-loved unique wooden statue, engrained in the maritime traditions of North Shields, has been taken to North Yorkshire to undergo specialist repairs before being returned to its rightful home in Northumberland Square.
  • Improving toilet facilities in North Shields Customer First Centre which will be accessible outside of library opening times.
  • Secured Heritage Action Zone funding from Historic England to breathe new life into Howard Street.
  • A number of private housing developments are underway in the town, including the Smith’s Dock development, the development of 14 apartments and retail units on Bell Street and the redevelopment of the former North Eastern Rubber Factory on Clive Street.

What we’ve already done

In recent years we have completed a number of major projects in the town including:

  • North Shields Customer First Centre: completed in 2013, over £3m was invested in transforming the old central library into a local hub offering a library and a range of public services and information
  • Northumberland Park: the popular beauty spot has undergone a £4m restoration, joint funded with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Fiddler’s Green sculpture: the council supported the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project to create a lasting memorial to lost fishermen. The area around the sculpture has also been brightened up with seating and new steps.
  • Nater’s Bank Seascape restoration: the fish-themed artwork overlooking the Fish Quay has been restored thanks to help from a local artist and the community.
  • New flagstones around Northumberland Square: the footpaths around the historic have been given a fresh new look.
  • Art stop: working with local artist Helen Smith, the bus shelter at Fiddler’s Green has been transformed into an art gallery.
  • Fish Quay regeneration - vacant premises have been restored and developed for business use over a number of years to create the cultural and leisure offer there now, including more than £20m of public and private sector investment.

Why we’re doing it

The aim of our regeneration plans is to encourage more people to live, work or spend their leisure time in North Shields.

By improving public transport as well as radically changing pedestrian and cycle access between the town and riverside we will create a neighbourhood to be proud of.

By creating new green spaces and revitalising Northumberland Square we will make the town an attractive place to spend time.

We will create opportunities for a mix of new housing to make a community that sustains North Shields for decades to come.

This is all part of our Ambition for North Tyneside which looks at how we will transform all parts of the borough.

Who is doing it

North Tyneside Council is developing the Ambition for North Shields master plan in partnership with a number of organisations including:

Have you say

The draft masterplan explains how we hope to help shape North Shields and make sure it is fit for the future. However, we would really like to hear your views on what you think we have got right, how projects could be improved, or what you disagree with.

We want to work in partnership with you to develop the outline masterplan and define the key projects for the town centre and the Fish Quay:

  • To improve North Shields as a residential location of choice and an attractive, family friendly destination
  • To create a smaller but more vibrant, high quality town centre;
  • To create more flexible retail opportunities and expand the evening and weekend economy
  • To improve public transport and the quality of walking and cycling connections across the town (including better links to Fish Quay);
  • To raise and improve the quality of the built environment and the quality of public space in North Shields (with more of it suitable for hosting events and festivals)

To achieve these ambitions and achieve growth and prosperity in North Shields, the masterplan must provide opportunities and projects:

  • That are both attractive to investors and aligned to our priorities;
  • That will secure the necessary funding and investment to ensure they are deliverable
  • Help to turn around negative perceptions

You can get involved by emailing . If you live in the area covered by the draft masterplan you will receive a brochure with details about the proposals which has space to leave your comments. 

The plans will also be displayed in the North Shields Customer First Centre where people can leave their comments in a post box. Anyone needing further information can request to be called back by video or phone by a council officer.

Feedback can also be given via an interactive online tool - and find regular updates on our Facebook page.

The deadline for responses to the first round of consultation is 16 October 2020. There will be further opportunities to help develop the proposals following the first raft of consultation.



Further information

See this document for more detailed information about the master plan.

Related documents


Graham Sword
Senior Manager, Regeneration
Telephone: (0191) 643 6421

Frequently Asked Questions

A masterplan is a long-term planning document that provides a conceptual design to guide future growth and development. A masterplan includes analysis, recommendations, and proposals for a site’s population, economy, housing, transport, community facilities, and land use. It is based on public input, surveys, planning initiatives, existing development, physical characteristics, and social and economic conditions.
The masterplan provides a framework for regenerating the Town Centre and Fish Quay through a series of independent projects which will collectively transform the Town Centre offer. It addresses the key challenges facing the Town Centre such as changing consumer patterns and visitor expectations.
The proposals in the masterplan cover the period up until 2035. The timing of development will depend upon the availability of funding and developers coming forward with detailed proposals, including how they are going to address any infrastructure requirements. Some sites, such as Northumberland Square, Unicorn House and the Heritage Action Zone, are already progressing and breathing new life into the town centre.
The masterplan document was funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority who understand the importance of North Shields Town Centre and Fish Quay to the region’s economy. When the masterplan is finalised, North Tyneside Council will be committed to delivering the projects it contains. The Council will have a vital role in making many of these ideas a reality through bidding for external funding where available. Some of the proposals will depend on private investment and part of the purpose of the masterplan is to facilitate that investment.
We will be seeking the views of residents, businesses and other interested parties in Autumn 2020. The masterplan will be available to view and submit comments online, we will also be arranging virtual 121 drop-in sessions to provide residents, visitors and businesses the opportunity to discuss the draft masterplan with Council Officers. If you would like to arrange such a session please provide your details at and a member of the team will be contact.