Plans have been unveiled for a £100 million regeneration programme for South Shields aimed at reinvigorating the north-east seaside town.

The South Shields 365 project is designed to tackle the overriding problems such as a tough economic climate and failures in the retail sector to help provide a brighter future for the area.

Proposals have been backed by business leaders around the town who were invited to a presentation at One Trinity Green by council leader Iain Malcolm. The delegates at the unveiling praised the ambition showed by the authority to help provide a boost to South Shields.

Officials are aiming to make the area the premier coastal resort in the north-east, allowing it to compete with other towns along the North Sea coast line such as Whitley Bay and Tynemouth. With South Shields being easily accessed from both Sunderland and Newcastle the council hopes that a major regeneration project will help to draw in tourists that are visiting the area on a weekend or holiday.

Councillor Malcolm said: "South Shields has tremendous potential and this masterplan is about making sure that it is realised. We are ambitious for South Shields and we have to play to its strengths.

"We have a beautiful coastline, a magnificent riverside and a unique and very welcoming community and these are powerful assets that we can build on to secure a bright future for our town centre."

He went on to highlight research that had revealed that out of every £100 residents in South Shields spent, only £3.70 went into the town's coffers and it was something that needed to be addressed.

As part of the regeneration, new shops will be created to connect the town centre with the seafront and plans are also afoot to help improve to transport links within the area.

The town is currently serviced by a Metro system which provides key links to Newcastle and Sunderland as well as a host of bus routes.

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