ALONG with our near neighbours Ashington and Blyth, much has been written about bank and shop closures in Bedlington Front Street recently.
Whilst it is true we’ve got our fair share of empty ones, it is worth noting that even affluent towns like Morpeth have not escaped shop closures as a result of the downturn in the economy, so I think it is time we started counting our blessings and looking at what we have got, rather than what we haven’t.
Bedlington has a characterful crescent-shaped Front Street with some interesting and historic architecture and monuments such as The Nail, attractive green and tree-lined approaches to the town from three sides, the Bedlingtonshire Heritage Trail and we are slap bang in the middle of the only three connected Sustrans Cycle routes in the UK.
We’ve also got a small but eclectic selection of nice restaurants, Plessey Woods Country Park, a golf course to rival the best in the county and the recent Townscape Heritage Initiative improvements have done much to restore the look of the Front Street to that of a picturesque market town.
Indeed, if you picked up the row of buildings between the Market Tavern and the Northumberland Arms and plonked them into the middle of somewhere like the Cotswolds, they wouldn’t look out of place, such is their character and quirkiness.
The Friends of Gallagher Park have done a fantastic job in securing funding for the construction of the BMX track and sculptures of local historic figures recently, as well as getting a proper access road built.
And we have a number of other committed and enthusiastic community groups such as Bedlingtonshire Community Development Trust, Bedlington Forum, Leading Link, the Salvation Army and Benet Enterprises, all of whom are working tirelessly in an effort to secure a brighter future for Bedlington.
Last, but not least, and at the risk of stating the obvious, we’ve got our own eponymous breed of dog – the celebrated Bedlington Terrier, with clubs and associations worldwide.
How many other places can lay claim to something like that?
This being the case, we’ve got plenty to be upbeat about, so come on people of Bedlington – big up the town!