Redevelopment of town market place approved

BLYTH'S market place is set for a make-over after the council granted permission for redevelopment work to go-ahead.

Blyth Valley Borough Council's development control panel gave its approval to proposals to include provisions for events, and informal seating for the Market Place between Waterloo Road and Market Street.

New hard and soft landscaping is included in the plans, along with the continued provision for a market to be held there.

The application seeks to reconfigure and redesign the market square to maximise the area's potential by providing a flexible platform to accommodate performance space, market stalls, relaxation and increased public use.

It is proposed to re-pave the area, provide new seating, a central feature of raised blocks including a water feature, new street furniture, new lighting and new tree planting.

Traffic restrictions will be put in place, and an increased pedestrian area created.

A group of raised blocks will run from east to west across the space linking the open space area outside St Mary's Church to the entrance of the Keel Row Shopping Centre.

The new lighting will be installed around trees, which are due to be planted.

But Coun Alisdair Gibbs-Barton raised concerns that the market place was starting to resemble a park, and suggested it may have been better to install a roof over the market instead of more trees.

"The market in Blyth is a tradition," he said.

"But it's becoming like a park in the middle of the town.

"We should be looking to encourage more trade."