Ambition for North Shields


Photo of the Wooden Dolly in Northumberland Square with text reading 'Ambition for North Shields and the Fish Quay'

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

Through a series of bold proposals through the North Shields masterplan 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.

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.

  • We aim to improve public transport, pedestrian and cycle access between the town and riverside to create a neighbourhood to be proud of.
  • And 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.

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

What's in the plan

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

  1. Gateway improvements
  2. Transport Hub with new Town Square
  3. Public realm improvements at Bedford Street and Saville Street
  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 North Shields ferry landing 

Related documents

What we’re currently working on

Transport Hub and new Town Square
Following the acquisition of the old Co-op building on Bedford Street, works to replace the building with a new town centre Transport Hub began in May 2022. There are no road closures in place surrounding this development, but some bus stops have been closed or relocated. Further details about changes to services in North Shields are available on the Go North East and Arriva websites.

Riverside Embankment Walkway
Works to install a new walkway, creating a safer link between the town centre and vibrant Fish Quay, began in September 2022 and are expected to be complete by Spring 2024. From 21 November 2022 there is a road closure to vehicles on Bell Street for 17 weeks (expected completion March 2023). Please follow road diversions to access the Fish Quay and allow extra time for your journeys.

For the latest updates on these works follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our monthly newsletter by emailing


What we’ve done already

Photo of the redeveloped Northumberland Square

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

February 2023: Gateway 3: A187 five-arm roundabout improvements

Improvement works to the A187 five-arm roundabout located on Howdon Road / Prudhoe Street will make it easier and safer for highway users, enhancing access to the town centre as part of our gateway improvements in North Shields.

The works included installing a new circular central island to help the roundabout function more effectively, relocating and installing safer and more accessible pedestrian and cyclist crossing points, extending the pedestrian guardrail, improving drainage by installing new gullies, and resurfacing the roundabout and its arms.

September 2022: Northumberland Square and Howard Street redevelopment

The first major phase of our ambitious restoration works in North Shields town centre is now complete following the redevelopment of the historic Northumberland Square, Howard Street and surrounding area.

Traditional sandstone paving and cobbled-style paths have been installed throughout the square, with new contemporary lighting and up-lighting to trees. The addition of new plants and shrubs, as well as a native beech hedgerow will help diversify habitats and enhance ecology, creating a biodiversity net-gain to the conservation area. 

Howard Street offers a shared highway surface for occasional vehicle use, creating a new pedestrian and cyclist-friendly cultural scene, giving a nod to the original historic footway geometry. An avenue of trees and seating has been installed leading up to the Square from the Fish Quay, as part of our tree planting programme which contributes to the borough’s net-zero 2030 ambitions.

September 2022: Clifford’s Fort cannon restoration
The two cannons, located at Clifford's Fort on the Fish Quay, underwent months of painstaking repair works by local building contractors A. McGann. The cannons were removed in February 2022 due to damage to the supports rendering them unsafe. A. McGann were able to build replicas of the supports creating a galvanised steel frame clad with oak sections making them more durable and long-lasting. The two twelve-pounder cannons were restored following weather damage and erosion over the decades and given a fresh lick of paint.

March 2021: Refurbished public toilets

Making it easier for town centre shoppers to ‘spend a penny’ by refurbishing the Beacon Centre car park public toilets.

February 2021: Northumberland Square housing development
A landmark Georgian terrace has been transformed from a ‘derelict shell’ into a stunning residential development in North Shields, in a £5.6m restoration scheme. 

September 2020: Wooden dolly restoration
The much-loved unique wooden statue, engrained in the maritime traditions of North Shields, underwent specialist repairs before being returned to its rightful home in Northumberland Square.

June 2020: Secured Heritage Action Zone funding
Awarded £900k from Historic England through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme to breathe new life into the historic Northumberland Square and Howard Street.

May 2019: New flagstones around Northumberland Square
The footpaths around the historic square were given a fresh new look.

March 2019: Nater’s Bank Seascape restoration
The 30 square metre fish-themed artwork overlooking the Fish Quay was restored thanks to help from a local artist and the community. 

2018: Bus shelter turned into ‘art stop’
Working with local artist Helen Smith, the bus shelter at Fiddler’s Green has been transformed into an art gallery.

2017: 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 been brightened up with seating and new steps.

2016: Northumberland Park restoration
The popular beauty spot underwent a £4m revamp, joint funded with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

2013: North Shields Customer First Centre
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.











Who is doing it

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

Our construction partners are:

How are we funding it

The masterplan document was funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority who understand the importance of North Shields town centre and the Fish Quay to the region’s economy. 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.

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 your say

Residents, businesses, partners and other interested parties were asked their views on the draft proposals as part of a public consultation to take into consideration when producing the final masterplan. 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 masterplan 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, the council purchased and demolished the Co-op store on Bedford Street and two smaller retail units facing Railway Terrace to enable the delivery of the transport interchange and means the Railway Terrace shops would remain.

All other proposals included in the masterplan remain unchanged but as individual projects are refined and finalised there may be some minor changes.

The draft finalised 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.

Please contact us by:
Tel: (0191) 643 4830


Contact us

If you have any questions about our plans for North Shields, or the ongoing regeneration works, you can contact us by:


Tel: (0191) 643 4830

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 the 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 on 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 the Transport Hub and the Embankment Walkway, 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 the Fish Quay to the region’s economy. North Tyneside Council is 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.
The draft masterplan went to public consultation in Autumn 2020 and was available to comment on in a variety of ways, including online and at 1-2-1 drop-in sessions. Feedback from the consultation was presented to Cabinet and a final masterplan was refined to consider this feedback. As a listening Council, we actively encourage feedback from our residents and businesses, especially during ongoing projects. If you think we could make improvements on anything we are doing or have planned in North Shields and the Fish Quay, please contact us by:
Tel: (0191) 643 4830

Find out more

Digital Map

We've created a digital map to illustrate what improvements we have planned as part of the regeneration of North Shields and the Fish Quay.

You can see the digital map here

Follow us on Facebook

For the latest news and updates on regeneration works to North Shields and the Fish Quay, follow us on Facebook.

Monthly Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly digital newsletter to get receive updates on works, community events and North Shields news straight to your inbox. Simply email to subscribe.

Past issues can be found below.



Related documents