Townscape Heritage Initiatives (THIs) are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and help communities regenerate Conservation Areas. They create partnerships of local organisations to carry out repairs and other works to historic buildings, structures and spaces.
There are two THIs in Gateshead that have helped us take care of our heritage.
Coatsworth Road THI
In 2012 Gateshead Council successfully bid for a THI on Coatsworth Road in Bensham and Saltwell, which will bring in over £1.9 million of investment over the next 4 years. The project is due to end December 2017 and will deliver:
- grants to repair and restore 30 priority historic buildings on Coatsworth Road;
- grants to bring empty properties back into use;
- some public realm improvements; and
- activities to involve local traders in supporting small businesses, and local people in maintaining buildings and practical skills, and improving the local knowledge of conservation, design and planning
We hope that by restoring the historic environment, the quality of life for people living, working and shopping on Coatsworth Road will be improved.
For information about what is happening in the THI, view our newsletters.
Roads, pavements and parking: results of recent public consultation
A survey has recently been conducted in Coatsworth Road which has highlighted that parking is proving to be a major issue in the area, affecting businesses, public safety and the physical condition of the pavements in Coatsworth Road.
As a result of this, the Council’s Highways department has designed a scheme to tackle these issues but with its restricted budget the Highways scheme will be limited to dealing with the essential issues only.
The limitations of the Coatsworth Road THI grant (which is HLF funded) means it can only be used to enhance the streetscape through the quality of its surface materials. It cannot for example be used to pay towards what is considered the Highway department’s legal duties and responsibilities for maintaining and repairing the roads, nor can this money be used towards replacement or provision of street furniture or lighting. As Highways only have a limited budget, their scheme will focus on resurfacing the road and addressing some of the parking and public safety issues by revising the current parking and loading arrangements and introducing a 20mph zone along the road, to include traffic calming measures.
In order to make use of the grant money available from the HLF, the THI has worked with the Highways department to enhance their scheme by introducing upgraded surface materials to many of the new and existing areas of pavement and road surfacing, including the new traffic calming features. Plans have been prepared for this and the consultation is now underway. You can view the plan and give your views here. After the consultation work may commence in 2017/2018.
22 Sheds is a community organisation working with the local people, including schools and young people, to help residents to understand and care about the Coatsworth Road THI local area.
22 Sheds are asking local people and groups to gather, donate and research materials to create a new community archive. Items donated will become part of both a digital archive and will also form the basis of an exhibition detailing the “The Story of Coatsworth Road.”
The exhibition will include a timeline with maps showing how the area has changed over the years and will include local people's materials - stories, drawings, models, ceramics, and archive images.
To contribute to the community archive, and to find out more about the fascinating things that local people are discovering, visit the 22 Sheds Coatsworth Road Archive Blog
There is also more information on the 22 Sheds Facebook page.
Traders in the street are benefiting from specialist advice from retail expert Dave Crompton of Bsupplied to help improve their business. While this project is very much about restoring part of the architectural heritage and its appeal to shoppers, it is also about improving the economic wellbeing of the retailers and the service they can offer.
Dave offers one-to-one consultancy advice not only to the THI grantees but to other retailers along the street.
Various events will be taking place during the course of the project. The latest was the Totally Locally promotion which took place at the end of May. The aim was to increase the number of customers visiting the street and let people of Gateshead know that it is a great place to visit and shop.
For more information on how Bsupplied is helping to improve Coatsworth Road, view A Day in the Life of Dave Crompton: Business Consultant to Coatsworth Road THI.
Both local residents and traders are welcome to come along to the Coatsworth Road Village Association Residents Association meetings. Contact Dave Crompton on 0191 5022 524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Find us at www.facebook.com/coatsworthvillage
Coatsworth Road Projects
Dansky’s is a prominent building on Coatsworth Road but its importance in the street has been lost over the years, as the building has
been adapted and traditional windows lost behind modern additions. The works that have taken place have brought the shop-front back to its former glory and provides a strong focal point at the South end of this once busy street.
The specialist grocery store and kosher delicatessen became the first store on Coatsworth Road in Gateshead to undergo restoration as part of a project to revitalise the area.
The store had its modern façade replaced with windows and doors much more in keeping with its early 20thCentury heritage.
Unsightly industrial type external steel roller shutters were removed with new shutters placed inside to maintain security and show-off the new shop front. Original stained glass was re used, and the original advertising board above the shop was sign painted by hand by a local artist, all helping to make the store much more attractive to customers and more appropriate to its surroundings.
Extensive work was carried out at Adams shop starting in August 2014. Work to the ground floor included 3 new timber shop fronts and internal shutters, new fascia and signs.The upper floors were completely rebuilt including new timber windows and a new roof structure with chimneys and dormer windows. Upon completion in November 2015 the previously unoccupied internal floor space has been fitted out and brought back into use as the Shah Jalal Islamic cultural centre.
The Stamp Shop is one of the long-standing businesses on Coatsworth Road and they recently took advantage of a Townscape Heritage grant to replace the shop front. Eric the proprietor decided it was about time he renovated the interior of the shop too. Eric and his family are delighted with the results and he has made new contacts and even more local friends in the process. Business is ticking over very nicely and he is developing the web side of his business. Eric’s shop looks great and he is reaping the benefits of keeping the shop looking fresh and uncluttered.
We are in the process of planning our next block of projects at Sue Ryder Charity Shop, GK Kosher Butcher, Wheel Assist and hopefully Eagle Residential.
Also funded by the Bridges the Heritage Lottery Fund the Bridges THI completed in 2011. It covered the Bridges Conservation Area from the High Level Bridge up to the old Town Hall, the historic core of Gateshead.
The project focused on bringing historic buildings back into use and improving the streets and open spaces in the area. It included a total of 11 projects – five buildings were restored and six vacant buildings were repaired and brought back into use.
Check out the slideshow below to see the fantastic improvements made by the Bridges THI.