Former South Shields pub set to be demolished as part of regeneration project

Cross Arms Hotel, formerly the Douglas Vaults
Cross Arms Hotel, formerly the Douglas Vaults

Bulldozers will call time on a once-popular South Shields town centre pub under plans for its demolition early in the New Year.

Work to flatten The Cross Arms Hotel, also known as the Douglas Vaults, is expected to start in January, as part of multi-million-pound regeneration plans.

Planning chiefs have applied for permission to knock down the three-storey property, in Barrington Street.

Its corner plot site falls within the boundary of the £100million South Shields 365 redevelopment programme, launched in 2013 by South Tyneside Council.

The council has hailed the rejuvenation project as a bold economic vision, designed to make South Shields the North-East’s premier coastal resort.

Large swathes of the town centre are being remodelled, central to which is a new transport interchange at Keppel Street.

A new cinema, retail outlets and leisure development, incorporating restaurants, will also be built.

In September, the Royal Mail’s move to its new facility at Laygate and the opening of the Post Office’s new branch in King Street, took place.

The council revealed in June 2015 that it was in the process of buying the Cross Arms Hotel, which closed soon afterwards.

Latest planning documents show the council’s own planning teams have submitted proposals to demolish the building.

If given the go-ahead, work will start on January 8, and end in late March.

The application states the building is “surplus to requirements”, but reveals no development work is currently planned for the site.

Instead, it will be soiled and seeded, and cordoned off with wooden railings.

The pub was also previously known as The Buffalo, The Spirit Vaults and The Spirit.

Its upstairs was converted into a hotel, with the bar area undergoing refurbishment to provide what was described as ‘Victorian feel’.

The first phase of South Shields 365 saw the demolition of the 1960s eyesore building Wouldhave House in the Market Place.

In April 2015, construction work started on a new library and digital media centre – now known as The Word, National Centre for the Written Word – in the Market Place.

And in November, plans for phase two of the masterplan – a new Transport Interchange - were given the green light, with work expected to start in the spring of 2018.

Demolition of the existing Metro station will start in the autumn of 2019, with the new retail and leisure development also getting underway.