Ambitious plans to convert one of South Tyneside’s most iconic structures into a seafront fish and chip restaurant have been revealed.
Colmans of South Shields plans to transform the town’s Sea Road bandstand and public convenience, known locally as Gandhi’s Temple, into a new restaurant which will also include a cocktail bar and takeaway.
After months of rumours over a potential conversion bid, formal plans have now been submitted to South Tyneside Council by owners Richard and Frances Ord.
Mr Ord, whose Ocean Road business has won countless awards including Best Restaurant in the National Fish and Chip Awards, said: “The Temple is an iconic building situated on one of the best blue flag beaches in Europe. My great grandfather started up his business Frankie’s on the beach in 1905 just a stone’s throw away from the Temple and I love the idea of restoring a piece of our town’s history and heritage too.
“We are eager to create a restaurant which engages with those that live, work and visit South Shields. It is a fantastic site and somewhere we feel we can make a real impact.”
If approved, the new restaurant will be called Colmans Seafood Temple and it is expected to take six months to turn around the ambitious plans. It is expected to add another 35 jobs to an already 35-stong team at the current outlet in Ocean Road.
Mr and Mrs Ord expanded their current base in 2011 after listening closely to customers.
“Our coast offers some of the best fish and seafood in the UK,” said Mr Ord, “most of which will be reflected on our menus. The Temple is about offering everyday quality and value for money, in a restaurant that makes you feel good. “It will also feature a cocktail and oyster bar and a takeaway, which will, of course, serve our famous fish and chips.
“Our seafood will be sustainably caught with much certified by MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), and much will come from our local fisherman, and we will, of course, use the fantastic local produce our region has become famous for.
“Our aim is to create an informal family seafood restaurant, value for money, great service and fantastic views to match.””
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We can confirm that a planning application has been received. It will be considered in due course.”