The building that housed iconic Morpeth shop John Smail and Sons, which closed earlier this year, is set to be converted into a restaurant.
The unique hardware, furniture and household goods store in Bridge Street was long-established in the town and it had stayed in the same family for four generations.
It was highly-regarded locally and known around the country and abroad. Dozens of customers thanked proprietor John Young and others who worked at the store during the closing down sale in March.
Now a change of use proposal has been submitted to Northumberland County Council by Zonic Developments Ltd. This will involve a total renovation of the building’s interior.
A design and access statement on behalf of the applicant includes the following: ‘The restaurant will operate over two floors, with dining space to the front of the building and the kitchens and back of house facilities to the rear.
‘There will be no change to the scale of the building, but there will be changes to the front elevation with the existing glazing and signage removed and replaced with a high quality contemporary curtain walling system with incorporated signage.
‘The rear of the building requires demolition due to being structurally unsound – the rear elevation will be re-built to a similar scale as the original.’
Morpeth Town Council’s planning and transport committee did not object to the application, but it has requested that the signage currently on the front of the building is kept in position, incorporated into the interior design or otherwise kept in storage in respect of the history of the store.