Fresh plans have been revealed to breathe new life into an historic Wallsend landmark with ties to Sting.
North Tyneside Council is poised to agree a deal to hand the Buddle building over to Adavo Property – the property developer and listed building specialist behind the regeneration of the Town Hall in Wallsend.
The much-loved Grade II listed former Buddle Arts Centre is where Sting used to practice his music in his early years.
The proposed £1.5million restoration includes creating space for work, events and conferences, with the development expected to create more than 100 jobs.
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I am delighted at the prospect of a new lease of life for this fantastic building, which is very close to the hearts of everyone in Wallsend and the surrounding area.
“I think it has played a big part in everyone’s lives in North Tyneside – some may have started their school life there and then it was an arts centre where many had fantastic experiences.
“To see that it is being brought back to life and will provide jobs for people in the borough is fantastic.
“This is another part of the regeneration of Wallsend and, more importantly, transforming what is an eyesore and bringing back a building with plenty of life left. That’s what Mark and his company are doing – bringing life back to this building.”
Mark Black, Chief Executive, Adavo Property, said: “The Buddle is an exciting project to be part of and we are raring to go.
“It won’t be easy, but anything worthwhile never is. The site has a rich history and many of Wallsend’s famous sons and daughters have passed through its doors. It is a fine building, very prominent in the area and means a great deal to many local residents. It’s part of our collective local heritage and should be cherished as such. These grand old buildings aren’t going to be built again and they need to be looked after properly for the generations to come.
“The Town Hall is now a thriving community hub in its own right, with Wallsend’s next generation of companies growing, creating new jobs and expanding quickly. We look forward to The Buddle becoming the next chapter in Wallsend’s continued resurgence.”
North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon said: “I’m really excited about this – the Buddle is very special to people in Wallsend.
“It was my husband’s first school and for me, I remember it as the arts centre, and I think now that it will be transformed into something different is exciting for people in Wallsend too.
“We’ve seen the fantastic job that Mark’s done with the Town Hall and I’m sure that he will be doing the same here so we look forward to seeing the development and the Buddle continuing to play its role in the life of Wallsend.”
The building was originally a local school built in 1876 before opening as a community arts centre in 1981, hosting plays, music and exhibitions. It later became a hub for creative industries.
It was named after John Buddle, a prominent mining engineer and manager of Wallsend Colliery during the early 1800s.
Local lad turned music superstar Sting would pay regular visits to fine tune his talents.
He put on a special concert there in 1991 and even paid for a new sound system for the centre.