Blacks Corner unveil plans to transform historic seafront tram shelter

Respected East Boldon deli Blacks Corner have unveiled plans to transform Seaburn’s historic tram shelter.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 5:07 pm

The team behind the award-winning deli and restaurant are working up proposals to bring their farm-to-table experience to the former tram shelter, one of three historic buildings being revamped as part of a £850,000 investment from Sunderland City Council and The Coastal Communities Fund.

Blacks Corner founders Jonathan Dryden and Chris Lowden, who launched their high-end South Tyneside bistro and wine bar in 2017, have been revealed as the preferred occupiers of the Seaburn Tram Shelter and will submit proposals to the council for listed building consent.

With nominations for Northern Design Awards and Bar & Restaurant Design Awards under their belt, they are now utilising their building partnership, End Developments, to draw up plans with local residents to design detailed proposals for the space.

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Blacks Corner have unveiled plans for the tram shelter
Blacks Corner have unveiled plans for the tram shelter

Residents have previously raised concerns about changes to the shelter, but the business partners say designs will be sympathetic to the history of the landmark structure while creating an attractive addition to the seaside offer.

Blacks Corner already has experience in transforming period buildings after breathing new life into their corner site in East Boldon, popular for its farmhouse cheese and charcuterie offering, and naming it after the colloquial village term for the site. As part of the project they also created a community garden for all.

More recently they opened sister site, Blacks Corner deli in St John Terrace.

Jonathan Dryden, co-founder of Blacks Corner, said: “Blacks Corner is fundamentally a neighbourhood restaurant and a brand with a heart, owned and managed by locals with a genuine passion for the area.

The tram shelter in Seaburn

“We are all about working with historic properties to create something aesthetically beautiful, without losing any of the rich heritage that make these buildings so special. This development is incredibly important to us because we believe that we can breathe life into a property which means so much to so many. We would like to work alongside the community to tell their stories through this redevelopment – the design will be both considered and sensitive to its history. We look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy our artisan cuisine and hear about its origins, appreciating what has gone before but also looking to the future, with an incredible view.”

The income from the lease – which was agreed with the support of Sunderland based commercial property surveyors, Lofthouse and Partners – will support the Sunderland Seafront Trust, which operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours, and the new income will help it to organise a range of seafront events and activities.

The conversion of the old heritage building is part of a wider programme of transformation at Seaburn and Roker, with Sunderland City Council having spent more than £10m on seafront regeneration and improvements over recent years.

The programme includes award-winning environmental and street-scene enhancements helping attract developments such as at Seaburn Stack, the Seaburn Inn and a host of new businesses to Marine Walk. It’s a key part of the wider transformation of the city, including the city centre, which is attracting hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into Riverside Sunderland.

Jonathan Dryden, co-owner of Blacks Corner

Other developments include the transformation of the old toilet block in Pier View, Roker, into a Tin of Sardines gin bar and the team behind Mexico 70 creating a seafood restaurant in an old storage shelter in Seaburn.

Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member, said: “Nobody can fail to see the stunning transformation we’re driving at Seaburn and Roker – and it’s delivering an increasingly vibrant visitor experience, with more and more businesses keen to be part of it too.

“Blacks Corner has a deserved reputation for the quality of its offer, and we’re thrilled to see them working up plans to work hand-in-hand with the community to create something really special for Seaburn.

“Roker was recently recognised as ‘an exemplar of coastal regeneration’ by The Times, and building on that with further regeneration of heritage buildings like the Tram Shelter, the former Roker Toilet Block on Pier View and the Bay Shelter at Seaburn, will only enhance that. We’re looking forward to seeing this stunning old structure brought into modern-day use.”

Blacks Corner in East Boldon

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The Blacks Corner deli in St John's Terrace, East Boldon