Here's how historic buildings in the heart of Sunderland could look as work begins on restoration scheme

Work is under way to restore two historic buildings in the heart of Sunderland.

The block, on the corner of High Street West and Villiers Street, contains two of the last long-term vacant properties in the Old Sunderland Riverside Conservation Area.

The 18th Century building at 177 High Street West was originally made up of commercial space on the ground floor and residential homes above, while the rear building on Villiers Street is slightly younger and was a purpose-built bank.

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The pair are now being restored as part of Sunderland’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), led and funded by Sunderland City Council and Historic England.

The council-owned properties will be handed over to the Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust, which is working with Mosedale Gillatt Architects and Northern Construction Solutions Ltd to deliver the first phase of the works, supported by a £350,000 grant from the Levelling Up Fund and £65,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The work will include roof and structural repairs, the removal of pebble dash and rendering in lime render, and window repairs and replacements.

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The second phase of works will be funded by the HAZ partnership grant scheme and will see the reinstatement of high quality traditional shops fronts.

The project aims to build on the successful restoration and reuse of neighbouring 170-175 High Street West, now home to businesses including Pop Recs and Sunshine Co- operative.

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An artist's impression of how the refurbished buildings will look
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City council leader Coun Graeme Miller welcomed the start of work: “After standing empty for many years, I’m delighted to see the restoration work begin at these fantastic buildings, helping to rejuvenate this historic part of our city centre and continue building upon the brilliant work of the Sunderland HAZ initiative.

“Between the important regeneration works in the city centre and the incredible new buildings transforming the skyline, Sunderland really is an exciting place to be.”

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Martin Hulse, from Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust, said the hope was to have the buildings occupied by local businesses and community groups by Christmas: “It has been a delight to work with the council over the past five years to bring activity back to High Street West,” he said.

Restoration work starts on the High Street West and Villiers Street building
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"Pop Recs and Sunshine Co-operative have already made a huge impact and we hope this next scheme will bring even more people to the area.”

Scaffolding in place