Hexham Shambles Restoration Project

The Shambles sits within the Market Place in the centre of the Hexham Conservation Area; at over 250 years old it is in a poor state of repair.

Plans are being developed to restore The Shambles to its former glory, with work on the £300,000 county council funded repair and refurbishment scheme due to start in early 2024.

Built by Sir Walter Blackett in 1766, this historically important asset requires urgent work to the timber beams, timber and stone columns, roof and flooring and the electrics within the structure. 

The restoration is also needed as columns and stonework have been repeatedly damaged by vehicles over the last few years as the existing parking spaces in the Market Place are shorter than the minimum length required to accommodate modern vehicles.  

Sympathetically designed bollards are to be placed around the north and west sides of The Shambles to further protect it from future damage by vehicle movements. Once the bollards are installed there will be insufficient space available to extend the bays and retain the current parking layout and this will need to be reconfigured to enable the vital safety measure to be introduced, whilst seeking to retain as many parking bays as possible. 

The Shambles is currently used by market traders, and it is intended that the work will better support the market activities, whilst also protecting the fabric and setting of this important feature. The market traders are being consulted about the required repair works as there will be a need to decant activities, whilst works get underway in 2024. 

A Listed Building application has been submitted which sets out plans to restore this important Grade II* historic feature, ensuring that any work is sympathetic to the original design and materials. Members of the public can view the application on the county council’s planning portal https://nland.cc/Shambles using reference number: 23/03901/LBC and make comment on the proposals up to 12 November 2023.   

Some of the key drawings showing the planned works can also be viewed here, along with the proposed parking arrangement, which is not subject to Listed Building consent.  

The refurbishment of The Shambles will complement the work of the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone, a £2.4m investment scheme delivered by Northumberland County Council in partnership with Historic England. This scheme aims to make the town a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and visit, while also enhancing the Conservation Area status of the town centre.    

Further updates will be posted here as the project gets underway. 

Contact: hexhamhshaz@northumberland.gov.uk