BUSINESS will hopefully soon be booming as a derelict pub is transformed into a shopping hub.
Run down and dilapidated, The Wellington in Ryhope, Sunderland, was a magnet for fly-tippers and yobs, concerned residents claimed.
But now its owners are hoping to turn it into units for eight businesses – which could include a barber and a funeral director.
Neighbours said The Wellington and neighbouring Prince of Wales pubs, in Ryhope Road South, had stood empty for four years.
People have been forcing their way into the two buildings and it was feared someone could be seriously hurt.
Now John Finn, from Sunderland-based Jonathan T Finn estate agents, which owns the pubs, hopes to transform The Wellington into up to eight shops.
He said: “It will obviously take some time, because we need to get it sorted out.
“We have had interest from a cobbler, a barber and a funeral director and planing applications will be going in.”
The firm is also taking steps to improve security at the Prince of Wales, after resident Brian Foster claimed the empty pub was an accident waiting to happen.
The 60-year-old retired call centre worker told the Echo in August: “If any kids got in they could fall through the floor or it could collapse on them. Someone has thrown paint over them and there have been several attempts to lever the doors open.
“They were bought by an estate agent and it is quite flimsy the security measures they have put in place.”
Mr Finn agreed the pubs were “eyesores” and promised they had been fitted with metal security screens and any rubbish removed.
“We have kept our word,” he added.