Colmans boss welcomes ‘seaside tsar’ plans for South Tyneside

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A businessman has welcomed ‘seaside tsar’ plans to draw in extra visitors to South Shields.

Richard Ord, who runs Colmans in Ocean Road and is behind the £1m transformation of the town’s Sea Road bandstand – known locally as Gandhi’s Temple – into a new restaurant, says he’d support anything that would benefit the town.

Richard Ord.

Richard Ord.

However, Mr Ord says he would like more clarifications on how the Tsar plan - which is being championed by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) - would work.

South Tyneside Business Forum has also backed the idea.

Mr Ord said: “Anything which would help South Shields gets my backing. But I think we need more clarification.

“Would South Shields get its own Tsar? Or would we have to share one with other towns within the north east?”

Anything which would help South Shields gets my backing.

Richard Ord

Mr Ord, who plans on opening his new venture later this year, also believes that the seafront is not the problem

He said: “We have a brilliant seafront. Businesses are doing really well, people are investing and just look at Sunday, we had thousands of people down there enjoying a free concert.

“It’s not the seafront that’s the issue with South Shields, it’s further along the road, it’s the town centre.”

The report by the BHA found that more than half the British public have not visited the seaside in the past three years. It also stated that people living in seaside towns are more likely to be poorly educated, unemployed and claiming benefits.

Gazette readers have also been having their say online.

Geordie52 wrote: “Too many now want to fly to other countries to enjoy a day on the beach. Me I like Shields and prefer to holiday in my home town.”

Wendy Shepherd added: “Here we go again, making the people of South Shields sound thick, unemployable and at the bottom of the food chain. I seriously think this negativity needs to stop because all it’s doing is making us sound ridiculous to outsiders.”