January 9, 2020 @ 12:44 by Richard Dawson
Work is underway on the £1.5 million restoration of the former Buddle arts centre in Wallsend, where musician and songwriter Sting used to practice his songs.
The restoration will see the creation of more than 100 jobs and will transform the space into a growth workspace for local businesses as well as a community space for events and conferencing.
North Tyneside Council has been working closely with property developer and listed building specialist Adavo Property to deliver the project.
The company has a proven track record of this kind of work having been behind the regeneration of the Town Hall in Wallsend.
Building surveys are almost complete and the site investigation phase is entering its final stages.
Norma Redfearn, the elected mayor of North Tyneside, said: “I am delighted to see the progress being made to breathe new life into the historic former Buddle building, which holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many people in the borough and further afield.
“Alongside Mark and his team we have worked hard to secure the future of this important heritage site and it is fantastic that the development will also provide much-needed jobs for local people.”
Mark Black, chief executive of Adavo Property, added: “The building is in real need of intervention if we are to keep it serving the community so it’s a timely deal that’s been done with the support and help of North Tyneside Council.
“Make no mistake this project is a big undertaking – certainly not one to be taken on lightly – but we have a great team on this project and will meet the challenge.
“The number of local residents we have had coming up to the team on-site to give their support and encouragement has been amazing; more so than any of the other buildings we have restored to date.
“The Buddle is clearly much loved in Wallsend and holds many childhood memories for the local community. It’s a privilege to be part of its renewal and to be able to bring hundreds of quality local jobs into an area that needs them is something we can all get behind and support.”
The MP for North Tyneside, Mary Glindon, said: “The massive investment being put into the Buddle is well deserved, as the building has so much historic relevance to the community of Wallsend and beyond.”