Historic Hintons building in South Shields set for new lease of life under new plans

An iconic building which housed one of the first supermarkets in South Shields is set for a new lease of life.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 07:00 am

This month, South Tyneside Council rubber-stamped plans to convert 22 Fowler Street into offices.

The towering building was the former home of retail chain Hintons – which also had another branch at The Nook.

And more recently, the property was occupied by Riddicks Shoe Shop at ground floor level and Racks Snooker Club on the upper floors.

Under new proposals, the vacant building is set for a huge revamp.

This includes repairs, a new two-storey rear extension, a new lift shaft and external works.

According to a Design and Access Statement, developers aim to reopen the building as a office hub.

The statement reads: “The intention is that the building will be leased by a single tenant, although the design is intended to allow future letting on a floor-by-floor basis.

“The client is committed to the long-term stewardship of the building and see this project as an opportunity to maximise the potential of this heritage asset.”

Hintons moved into the Fowler Street building in the 1950s – a space originally built for high-end green grocers Miller & Co around 1907.

Today, the building still retains many of its original architectural features and boasts one of the few remaining historic shop fronts in the town centre.

JDDK Architects were appointed by Muse Developments to assist with the project – which has been named ‘Keppel Street’.

In their application, developers state they aim to preserve and improve the appearance of the listed Edwardian structure.

Other works include a pumping system to prevent flooding in the basement, eco-friendly lighting and a new insulation.

The Design and Access Statement adds: “Externally, 22 Fowler Street is receiving repair and redecoration works only, these minimal works will have no impact on the heritage asset.

“The work will secure the value and limit further deterioration of the building into the future.

“The corner faceted glazing to the shop front is being replaced with curved glass, this would be considered beneficial to the heritage asset as it is restoring this element back to its original design. ”

Works will also apply to the adjoining three-storey building – formerly known as 3 Keppel Street – which was built in the 1960s-1970s.

While this part of the building is considered to have “negligible significance” in heritage terms, new works aim to improve its appearance.

This includes replacing stone cladding with brickwork and installing aluminium windows.

The plans were formally approved by South Tyneside Council on May 16 and work must take place within three years.

Council officers also concluded the ‘change of use’ would not have any negative impact on existing businesses in South Shields town centre.

A report adds: “The works would bring a vacant unit into use, improving the vitality of the town centre, as well as delivering an appropriate town centre use for the building.”

Caption: 22 Fowler Street, South Shields.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service