Shops look to past as part of £2m revamp

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SHOPFRONTS in a Northumberland town are being revamped to reflect their heritage, thanks to a new grant.

Tallantyre’s interior decor shop in Bedlington’s Front Street is the first to be given a facelift as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s townscape heritage initiative.

The business started out just doing decorating in 1946 but soon expanded into retailing by opening a small paint and paper shop in Vulcan Place.

That shop later relocated to Front Street West, and then again to its current premises.

A shop in Morpeth followed later, and now Martin Tallantyre, the third generation of his family to run the business, is in charge.

Martin said: “We are very pleased that we took up the offer of this grant, which, together with our own investment, has greatly improved the building in Bedlington.

“It looks great, and we’ve had lots of positive comments since the renovation was completed.

“We look forward to further businesses taking up the offer of grants, so that further benefits can be seen across the town.”

The building’s cladding, paint and fascias were removed, and a new shopfront was installed and stonework repaired and re-pointed.

Its Welsh slate roof was re-laid and repaired, and new chimneys, drainpipes and gutters were fitted, along with replacement timber windows.

The townscape heritage initiative, a five-year nationwide programme, is investing almost £2m in improvements to Bedlington.

Work in the town is being co-ordinated by Northumberland County Council.

Tom Brechany, pictured, the council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “The regeneration programme aims to give Bedlington town centre a new lease of life by making significant improvements to the visual aspects of the conservation area and also helping to boost trade and bring more people into the town centre.

“I think that Tallantyre’s new shopfront looks great, and I look forward to seeing further premises completed soon.”

More than £900,000 is available for building grants, and the council is in talks with 25 more businesses about further awards this year.

The scheme is due to end in December 2013.

The current work follows on from other improvements in the town, including the restoration of its market place.

For further information, contact Richard Schofield at the council’s regeneration team on (01670) 824814.