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 masterplan, which was approved by Cabinet in January 2021, 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 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.

Public consultation

Residents, businesses, partners and other interested parties were asked their views on the proposals through a variety of platforms to take into consideration when producing the final version of the plan.  A report to Cabinet showed that overall feedback from the consultation was broadly positive and supportive of the proposals with a general agreement that North Shields needs some revitalisation to make the area a better place to live, work and visit.

Proposals to improve access between the Fish Quay and town centre, plans to create a transport hub, proposed new housing on the Unicorn House site and improved town centre gateways were all particularly welcomed and are intended to ensure the town is well-placed to attract visitors and compliment private sector investment. The majority of businesses in the town were happy to support the plans, the report adds.

The final master plan was refined as a result and no longer includes a proposal to demolish a small number of buildings in Railway Terrace to make way for a new town square. Instead, Co-op have announced their intention to close their store later in 2021.  The council is aiming to purchase and demolish the Co-op store on Bedford Street and two smaller retail units facing Railway Terrace. This revised approach will enable the delivery of the transport interchange and a new town square and means the Railway Terrace shops would remain.  All other proposals included in the master plan remain unchanged but as individual projects are refined and finalised there may be some minor changes.

Next steps
The proposed next steps include:

• Refining a Delivery Plan for the masterplan which will set out the timings, and funding for the projects contained in the Master Plan.
• Progress the delivery of those schemes contained in the Master Plan for which funding has been secured.
• Securing external funding for those elements of the Master Plan for which funding is not currently in place.

All projects that come forward from the final adopted Masterplan will be subject to further engagement .




What's in the plan?

There are a number of different long-term projects included as part of the master plan:

  1. Gateway improvements: East Tynemouth Road and the Law Courts; South East Fish Quay/Brew House Bank; West Howdon Road/Coach Lane/Saville Street
  2. Transport Hub with new Town Square
  3. Public realm improvements at Bedford St and Saville St
  4. Northumberland Square redevelopment
  5. Howard Street Cultural Quarter
  6. Riverside Embankment walkway
  7. Allocated housing sites: Tyne Brand mixed use site; Unicorn House residential
  8. Relocation of the Shields ferry landing 

What we’re doing now

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

A number of major projects and achievements have already been completed in the town including:

  • Northumberland Square housing development: a £5.6m scheme to restore a row of listed Georgian terraced properties.
  • Wooden dolly restoration: the much-loved unique wooden statue, engrained in the maritime traditions of North Shields, has undergone specialist repairs before being returned to its rightful home in Northumberland Square.
  • Refurbished public toilets at the entrance to the Beacon Centre car park in the town centre.
  • Improved toilet facilities in North Shields Customer First Centre, accessible outside of library opening times.
  • Secured Heritage Action Zone funding from Historic England to breathe new life into Howard Street.
  • 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 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); and 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.

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:

High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)

The council has been awarded £900,000 from Historic England through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme.

The North Shields Heritage Action Zone will deliver a four-year programme of physical improvements, community and cultural activities.  It is a place-based scheme designed to secure lasting improvements to historic high streets and the communities who use them.

Find out more here.

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

If you have any feedback please email .

The plans are also displayed in the North Shields Customer First Centre and find regular updates on our Facebook page.

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



Digital map

We've created a digital map to show you what is happening and where as part of the regeneration of North Shields and the Fish Quay.

You can see the digital map here.

Further information

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

Related documents


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

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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.


Find the latest newsletter with updates about the Masterplan here.

Related documents