New owners have high hopes as they plan to revamp and re-open historic South Shields pub

A landmark pub in South Tyneside could soon be reopening.
The Riverside, Mill Dam is to reopenThe Riverside, Mill Dam is to reopen
The Riverside, Mill Dam is to reopen

The Riverside, at South Shields’ historic Mill Dam, has been taken under new ownership and planning permission granted to update it, inside and out.

It will be operated by John Thomas and Italian co-owner Alex Calista who run The Mill pub and the adjoining Italian Kitchen restaurant, close to Southwick, Sunderland.

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Mr Thomas has a long history of running borough boozers and was behind the creation of the Lakeside at Monkton when it was turned from a farmhouse to pub.

The Riverside operated successfully as a real ale outlet in the 1990s and has since had several incarnations, most recently as a short-lived steak house.

It has been closed for about a year, but is now set to open its doors to punters towards the end of June – with real ale on the menu, but not a main selling point.

Mr Calista said: “John was in South Shields one day and saw that the pub was closed down.

“We’re really looking forward to it opening.

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“There is some improvement work to do, for which we have just won planning permission, but we intend to keep it as The Riverside.

“We are going to create a nice kitchen space and serve good quality food – it will be a pub with food.”

The highlight of planned improvements is a balcony to the second floor which will allow drinkers to overlook the street towards the Tyne and Market Place.

Installing it will lead to the removal of part of the current roof for a single-storey extension.

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Alterations to the first floor windows have also been approved, as have new glazed doors for access to the balcony.

And a single-storey disabled toilet and store extension will be created to the property’s side elevation.

The pub sits within the Mill Dam Conservation Area, and planners were uncomfortable with elements of the original design change.

With a duty to preserve and enhance the conservation area, they felt the proposed extension would not achieve a positive result.

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But the plans were approved after amendments were made, with South Tyneside Council’s community safety and environmental health teams having no concerns.

In a report, the council concedes: “Based on the scale and nature of the works, as well as the existing use of the building, it is not considered that the development would result in material harm to the amenity of neighbouring properties.”