North Shields Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)

What is the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ)?

The council has been awarded £590,000 from Historic England through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme.

The North Shields High Street Heritage Action Zone is delivering a four-year programme of physical improvements, community and cultural activities. It is a place-based scheme designed to secure lasting improvements to historic high streets and the communities who use them.

The funding forms part of a £2.46million project, which includes a council contribution of nearly £1million, to revitalise the Northumberland Square Conservation Area, focused on Howard Street and Northumberland Square, through a series of projects.

The funding is being used to champion and revive the conservation area, changing perceptions of heritage. The scheme supports sustainable economic and cultural growth restore and enhance local historic character, making the conservation area an attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and play.

This involves repairing and restoring key architectural heritage buildings through a third-party grants scheme aimed at businesses and residents around the square and the surrounding area.

It is part of the Ambition for North Shields master plan – aimed at transforming the town centre and riverside into an environment where more people choose to live, work and spend their leisure time.

As well as restoring and repairing key architectural heritage the plans for the North Shields High Street Heritage Action Zone also include potentially changing the use of premises on Howard Street to create more of a cultural offer so that the area becomes a destination for all. The scheme also includes creating a community cultural consortium to develop a programme of events and activities.

In addition, the council, in partnership with Historic England and the private sector, will look to transform properties in its ownership, and potentially acquire others to create a culture and leisure hub in this part of the town.


Related documents

What are the proposals?

Howard Street and Northumberland Square form the core of the North Shields High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ).

Howard Street

  • The scheme needs to allow for the reinstatement of the period curtilage detail, in line with the railing strategy to the once residential properties on Howard Street.
  • Create a shared highway surface, for occasional vehicle use that gives a nod to original historic footway/highway geometry.
  • Provide a robust scheme of lighting to allow the removal of the current highways lighting columns.
  • Include a material pallet to reflect historic material precedent, research , colours and textures, including whinstone kerbs, whin setts, York stone setts and sandstone.
  • Appropriate and significant number of street trees fastigiate in form both to create an avenue and yet retain the strategic views up to Northumberland Square and down to the river.
  • Space for large linear events to build on the highly popular Christmas market in the square, as well as performance space.
  • Civic space to the front of St Columba’s Church, including space for turning of funeral corteges or wedding cars.

Northumberland Square

Northumberland Square is the town centre’s only green space, and the opportunity to create a grassed events space will be embraced, as well as still allowing space for passive recreation. Ideas include:

  • A programme of tree thinning.
  • Reconfigure footpaths to reflect the original layout informed by Heritage England’s historic research.
  • Providing a central grassed space including space for staged music events.
  • Replanting with both appropriate tree and shrub planting.
  • Develop an enhanced spatial relationship between the library café, Beacon Centre and the open space of the Square.
  • Providing location appropriate street furniture.  

Northumberland Place, West Percy Street to Bedford Street 

This thoroughfare forms the northern link between the historic core and North Shields retail centre, it is made up in part by the conservation area and is an important corridor linking the Heritage Action Zone to Bedford Street. Ideas include:

  • Allow for the reinstatement of the period curtilage detail, in line with the railing strategy to the `palace fronted` buildings of Northumberland Place.
  • A bleed of natural materials appropriate to a conservation area and informed by the materials pallet, into the retail area.
  • Footways that are safe and highway crossing points at appropriate locations that play down the dominance of the motor vehicle, allowing for a good pedestrian link from Bedford Street to Northumberland Square.
  • Provide a robust scheme of lighting to allow the removal of the current highways lighting columns.

How will the changes look?

The public realm improvements will be informed by a palette of materials, it is expected that the materials palette in Howard Street and Northumberland Square will be developed from historic research and evidence in the townscape.

The research will provide the basis of the palette in the HAZ area and beyond by replicating materials colours and textures.

Where is the Heritage Action Zone?

The Heritage Action Zone is made up of the top half of Howard Street, Northumberland Square and Northumberland Place, as shown by the map, with the historic Square at its heart, and features a Conservation Area and a number of listed buildings.

Cultural Programme

VODA North Tyneside has plans for an engaging and interactive programme of online activity focusing on the culture and heritage of our Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) in North Shields.

Funded by Historic England the work will explore new ways of engaging diverse communities bringing together local charities, businesses, North Tyneside Council, volunteers and residents to share stories about life in our HAZ whilst also collecting and preserving new memories using film, photography, podcast and music.

A range of activities will be delivered by local organisations including Remembering the Past and the North Shields Heritology Project. Additional support has been enlisted from Eye of the Tyne Photography and local artist and musician Jayne Dent.

The plan of activities includes:

  • virtual tours of key buildings within the HAZ using film, photography and drone footage
  • delivering online presentations about the importance of the HAZ in North Shield’s history using our existing local history knowledge currently stored in Discover North Tyneside (including the Edington Collection) and on Remembering the Past’s website
  • producing podcasts with local business owners within the HAZ talking about their building and what they know about its previous occupants
  • creating a digital record of the role of the HAZ in the abolition of slavery - namely the visit of Frederick Douglas the renowned American abolitionist who came to the town and spoke at The Baptist Church on Howard Street
  • collecting new memories from local residents using online platforms such as Zoom and requesting the submission of photographs and other artefacts
  • creating a new piece of music inspired by the history of our HAZ
  • developing an online web platform and app to promote the project, providing easy access to HAZ materials and an opportunity to further engage with partners for future activity

Who's involved?

The partners involved in the North Shields HAZ are:

  • North Tyneside Council
  • Historic England
  • VODA
  • Remembering the Past
  • The Exchange
  • North Shields Business Chamber
  • Fish Quay Productions
  • Local artists
  • Helix Arts
  • North Shields Heritology Project


For more information telephone: (0191) 643 6416 or email

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