As many as 50 new jobs are coming to Northumberland as a major retailer has gained planning permission for two new stores in the south east of the county.
Blyth and Bedlington are each to get new Lidl stores as part of Northumberland County Council’s plans to regenerate its market towns.
The supermarket giant is set to build a bigger store on part of the former Bates Colliery site on Cowpen Road in Blyth, that will be almost double the size of the existing outlet – with up to ten new staff joining the existing workforce.
And in Bedlington a new store is planned at the site of Northumberland County Council’s old day care centre off Schalksmuhle Road, which will create up to 40 new jobs.
Both stores will feature an in-store bakery, 12 tills, 109 parking spaces, restrooms and baby changing facilities.
Building work is planned to start in the coming months, with both stores aiming to open before Christmas 2016.
Northumberland County Council leader, Coun Grant Davey, said: “We’re committed to the future of all market towns in Northumberland and it’s great news that a top high street name is set to make a big investment in the county.
“The success of towns like Bedlington and Blyth is critical as the council, with its development partner Arch, looks to support economic growth in the coming years.
“These new stores will provide sustainable development, support economic growth and provide employment opportunities for local people.”
David Murphy, Lidl UK’s head of property, added: “We could not be more delighted to have received planning permission, and look forward to getting started on the construction of these stores.
“This marks yet another milestone in our expansion programme, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to invest back into Northumberland.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their continued support, and very much look forward to opening our doors and offering our fresh, quality, great value products in the not too distant future.”
For Bedlington the Lidl news is a welcome part of the council’s plans for investment in the town.
It follows purchase of all property assets formerly owned by Tesco in the town by Arch, the Northumberland Development Company.
Arch is currently running an open design competition to kick-start the regeneration of this important site in Bedlington town centre, with five companies recently shortlisted to develop proposals which will include culminate in a public exhibition in March 2016.
In Blyth the new store will help to link inward investment to economic growth drivers including Blyth Enterprise Zone and Ashington BIyth and Tyne Passenger Railway.
The Lidl developments in Bedlington and Blyth have been made possible by the council selling both sites for the new stores to the firm.