South Shields MP 'heartbroken' at state of Victoria Hall after fire at 'gorgeous' building
The future of a the Victoria Hall is to be discussed after the landmark South Shields building was damaged by fire.
The Grade II-listed building in Fowler Street suffered damage after it caught fire at around 11pm on May 29, with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) spending until after 3am putting out the blaze.
The 1896 building has previously hosted dances, been a base for a series of businesses and two Italian restaurants, Case Rosa and La Rossa, before it fell into disrepair, with the space used by cannabis farmers before police raids in 2014 and 2019.
As inquiries continue into the fire by TWFRS and Northumbria Police, the question about what happens to the building is being asked.
Emma Lewell-Buck the town’s Labour MP, said she plans to speak to the council this week in the hope its owner can be contacted and the site saved.
She said: “It’s another one of our gorgeous, historic buildings which should be preserved.
"I think it’s often the problem were you’ve got a private landlord that it can be hard to establish who they are, but it would be good if we could get it back into use somehow.
"I have walked passed it, before this fire, and been heartbroken about the state it’s been left in.
"It’s part of our community and it’s been left empty, it’s massive inside, it’s so beautiful outside and I remember the lovely floor tiles.
"We’re often faced with these new monolithic faceless buildings, when we have the opportunity to restore somewhere like this.
"There’s a massive need for our town centres now to be about culture, heritage and an experience and we need to secure that more.
"South Shields isn’t the place for shopping in the North East, we should be competing with others to bring people into the area, people who come to the seaside, families who come to spend some time having fun, eating and drinking and socialising – that should be something we look at doing right across the town.”