The Shoreditchification of Heaton?
Yes, that is a word. ‘Shoreditchification’ refers to the London Borough of Shoreditch and its transformation from a post-industrial backwater into Hipster Central. This is slightly different to ‘Gentrification’ which is simply estate agents calling an area something different and hiking the house prices. Personally, I still call ‘High South Gosforth’ Longbenton but I am sure the £10k uplift in house prices is welcomed by the newly gentrified residents of that ward.
To suggest Heaton is experiencing Shoreditchification is silly. Heaton is a largely residential area bordered by some of the finest parks in the city. But as young professionals replace students in Heaton there is a buzz about the place that was not evident ten years ago.
Grotty old student lets have been transformed into high standard accommodation and some exciting new businesses have sprung up. The latest of these is the Naked Deli on Chillingham Road which is backed by serious investment following the success of their Naked Deli in Gosforth.
While big money now sees Heaton as a safe bet, I am more interested in the ‘let’s give it a go’ school of entrepreneurship. Today, Cal’s Own in Jesmond is one of the finest authentic pizza restaurants in the UK but Calvin started out in Heaton on a shoestring.
Similar success stories include The Wild Trapeze, The Sky Apple Café and The Butterfly Cabinet. The latter has a breakfast queue of at least twenty people every Saturday morning come rain or shine. All these businesses had an idea to do something a little different and all are thriving thanks to the Heaton mix of families and young professionals.
I would class myself as a young professional but my wife may read this and I do not need the ridicule. So, I will own up as a Heaton family man. As a family we are never short of a stunning local meal but Heaton has more to offer than eclectic dining.
Heaton Park is as good as it gets for free family entertainment. A stroll through the woods along the banks of Ouseburn will take you through parks and historic landscape to the Tyne River. Newcastle Council has invested heavily in walks, cycle tracks and play areas. Perfect to let children let off steam in safety.
All this has brought about a new trend in the lettings sector. Where once Heaton was where you lived because it was all you could afford, today Heaton is a destination of choice. A standard two bed apartment in Jesmond will cost £700 per month. In Heaton this will be £580. But the interesting trend is, we are seeing young professionals saying “I can afford £700 a month. So, I want a luxury apartment in Heaton rather than a standard one in Jesmond.
I am delighted at the resurgence of the area I live in, work in and love. If you live in Heaton you will know what I mean. If you do not and your view is one of grotty bedsits, come along and be surprised. Take a stroll along Heaton Road, stop for a snack (vegan, vegetarian or carnivore) then walk down to our newly refurbished parks. As Samuel Johnson would undoubtedly have said if he lived on Lesbury Road, “When a man is tired of Heaton he is tired of life”.