A town centre branded a ‘dump’ by a senior councillor, has landed a major cash injection.
Blyth town centre is set to be revived thanks to a £1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore old buildings and streets in the market town.
The Blyth Central Conservation Area Townscape Initiative (THI) is helping to bring historic commercial buildings back to life, and has awarded £275,000 of grant funding for four commercial buildings in Blyth town centre.
The central area of Blyth has great heritage merit, with a number of fine commercial properties and the THI will aid repair and restoration work to help restore that special character.
The buildings to benefit from the latest grant funding include Frameworks, the former Lloyds Bank on Bridge Street which is a Grade II listed building, The Beauty Factory and Rickard Chartered Surveyors on Havelock Street.
The businesses have provided £65,000 of private sector investment into the scheme.
The building works are set to start in late-April with completion expected in late summer.
The restoration works have been designed by John Curtis of Napper Architects, and will include reinstatement of architectural features such as sash windows, shopfronts, chimneys and masonry and repair of the historic fabric.
Blyth’s THI has already made its mark on the town centre’s shopping streets with restoration of 35-39 Bridge St, occupied by Croft Vets and Real Pizza.
Arch is currently leading the investment to Blyth bus station, where work is due to complete in April.
Arch group managing director Peter McIntyre said: “Now that the first THI project is complete and the bus station works are taking shape, this has helped to show the vision of the THI and expected standard in terms of high quality design and craftsmanship.
“Arch’s development will help create a more enjoyable environment when travelling and shopping in Blyth town centre.”
Angela Cosimini, Frameworks owner, said: “Our most precious treasure of all is our heritage which has an enormous impact on the way the business is run, this philosophy has been handed down to me by my father Peter Cosimini, having served the people of Blyth for over 40 years.
“We constantly get asked to open Frameworks in another town or city, my reply is that we want people to come to Blyth to see us that is where we belong. We are very proud of the adoring accolades in our visitor’s book both locally and worldwide and we know that when they talk about Frameworks they talk about Blyth.
“We have achieved this on the inside of the shop and we are now glad we have the opportunity to match the grandeur on the outside of the building with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.”