Council call for workshops to aid businesses

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STARTER units for businesses are Newbiggin’s top priority, say town councillors.

There is said to be phenomenal interest from retailers in coming to Newbiggin, thanks to the town’s selection as part of the Portas Project earlier this year, which works to revive high streets.

But Newbiggin Town Council said there are no workshops available for homegrown ventures.

Yet there has been a surge in demand for starter units in the county’s south east.

Premises at nearby Ashington which had stood empty have recently been snapped up and are now full.

Newbiggin town clerk Dennis Earl advised councillors last Wednesday to put starter units at the top of their list in the county-wide Local Plan Core Strategy, which sets out development priorities for more than 20 years.

He said that in the past councils had set aside tracts of land in the hope a major manufacturer like Nissan would come along.

“What we need within communities are some starter units, to start or expand small businesses into medium businesses,” he said.

“It’s a 40 or 50-mile round trip to Newcastle and nowadays people can be working at home.

“But virtually every person in Newbiggin who works has to travel out of town to work.”

The council also said there was a need for new homes to improve the mix.

Some 85 per cent of houses in Newbiggin were in band A for council tax, but larger properties were needed to retain growing families and people working from home in the community.

Members agreed to press for those priorities in the core strategy.