Sunderland Echo - - Front Page - By Fiona Thompson Twit­ter: @fionath­omp­sonjp

New life is to be breathed into a city cen­tre land­mark build­ing af­ter it was bought by a new owner, hav­ing stood aban­doned for years.

A sec­tion of the Hutchin­son’s Build­ings, in High Street West, is to be­come a restau­rant af­ter plan­ners ap­proved a change of use to trans­form what had been a for­mer amuse­ment arcade.

Work has al­ready be­gun to clean up the prop­erty, which has been sold by Gen­too and was once home to the Cham­bers night­club.

The site had been mar­keted for some time in the search for some­one to take on the premises, which takes in Mackie’s Cor­ner, and was the last home to Sweet Home Alabama un­til the shop’s move to Fawcett Street in 2012.

The restau­rant will cre­ate four jobs ac­cord­ing to plan­ning pa­pers, which say the new use for the build­ing is “par­tic­u­larly wel­come”.

It states: “Num­bers 103 to 105 High Street West lie va­cant and form part of the wider Hutchin­son’s Build­ings, which are of his­toric land­mark sig­nif­i­cance and town­scape value.

“As such, the re-suse of these im­por­tant city cen­tre build­ings is par­tic­u­larly wel­come.

“In line with pol­icy, it is clear that restau­rant/cafes are iden­ti­fied as uses which are to be en­cour­aged within this part of the city cen­tre due to the con­tri­bu­tion they can make in pro­mot­ing a lively, mixed-use ur­ban quar­ter.

“The new restau­rant will not only pro­vide much­needed ac­ti­va­tion and foot- fall to this prom­i­nent part of High Street West at its busiest junc­tion with Fawcett Street, but it will hope­fully act as a cat­a­lyst for fur­ther op­er­a­tors to take on the re­main­ing­va­cant ground-floor units of the Hutchin­son’s Build­ings.”

In ap­prov­ing the change of use, Sun­der­land City Coun­cil said the project would have a “pos­i­tive im­pact on the vi­tal­ity and vi­brancy of the area.”

The ap­pli­ca­tion, granted to Ms Foroozan Azl, has said work must be sen­si­tive to the her­itage of the build­ing, which lies within the Sun­ni­side con­ser­va­tion area and was built be­tween 1850 and 1853.

Per­mis­sion has also been ap­proved for new walls, doors, toi­lets and a kitchen.

Gra­ham Gow­land, Gen­too’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of prop­erty, said: “Gen­too com­pleted the sale of the Hutchin­son’s Build­ings ear­lier in 2017.

“We are de­lighted the build­ing will be brought back into use and we wish the new owner the best of luck.”

“It will hope­fully act as a cat­a­lyst for fur­ther op­er­a­tors” CITY PLAN­NERS

Work is al­ready un­der way to trans­form the for­mer amuse­ment arcade and Cham­bers night­club.

Mackie’s Cor­ner ,at the junc­tion of Fawcett Steet and High Steet West, Sun­der­land, pic­tured late last year.

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