Work is due to start soon to transform an iconic seafront bandstand into seafood restaurant.
Costing more than £1million, Colmans of South Shields aims 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.
Planning permission has been granted by council bosses, and owner Richard Ord is hoping his new family venture will be open by the end of the year – and create 35 new jobs and apprenticeships.
He said: “We’re obviously delighted that we’ve been given the go ahead.
“At the moment the work is out for tender and we aim to have everything up and running by the back end of the year.
“We couldn’t think of a better place to create our restaurant.
“We all love South Shields, work here and live here, we wouldn’t have wanted to take it any where else.”
He added: “We will also be creating 35 new jobs and apprenticeships for the borough when we do open, so it will have a positive impact on the borough.”
The new restaurant will be called Colmans Seafood Temple and Mr Ord – whose existing business in Ocean Road, South Shields, has won countless awards including Best Restaurant in the National Fish and Chip Awards – believes this may be the first time a bandstand has been used in such a way.
He said: “I am fairly confident, through my extensive research into seafood restaurants that this is a first for the UK. I’ve not heard of any others setting up in a former band stand. South Shields is already famous for its eateries and this will just add to that list. It certainly will be unique.”
Mr Ord is also pleased that Gandhi’s Temple will be restored for future generations to enjoy.
He 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 in and visit South Shields. It is a fantastic site and somewhere we feel we can make a real impact.”
Mr Ord will be filming every aspect of the project, which will then be transformed into a short film at the end of the build.