INVESTMENT: All towns will benefit

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I am writing in response to a number of letters (News Post Leader, October 1).

The council is committed to doing everything in its power to support economic growth in the county, and boosting the vibrancy and health of our town centres is central to this.

Parts of Northumberland have been disadvantaged due to a lack of investment appetite, which pre-dates the economic downturn of 2009, and our vision is for a more equitable pattern of growth.

Our approach to putting assets at the forefront of town centre renewal includes a number of major projects, which are part of a larger master plan to revive towns.

Ashington town centre has a number of strengths, but it has suffered from years of decline and disinvestment, seen most recently with the closure of the Alcan smelter.

Our job is to inject confidence, and that’s why Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, has worked with local partners to plan a £74m programme of investment in the town over the next decade.

This includes the building of the new leisure centre, which will be a regional centre of sporting excellence.

We are focused on redeveloping our assets to promote growth and balance.

Moving County Hall from Morpeth to Ashington as part of the re-development plan can bring significant benefits to both towns.

And securing the re-opening of the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne rail line would ensure that communities are more accessible and commercially attractive to investors.

In Bedlington, with Northumberland County Council’s support, the council’s development company Arch has bought the former Tesco site.

This is the first phase of Arch’s remit to deliver a comprehensive, mixed, high quality element to support the council’s strategy for regeneration and business growth that benefits the town.

Local people will be fully involved in developing proposals.

These include plans to revitalise the Market Place and encourage more people into the town centre to shop.

Rest assured, we are committed to strengthening our towns to boost economic growth that will bring benefits to everyone.

Coun Grant Davey

Leader of Northumberland County Council