Up to 900 new jobs could be in store for town

The proposed development at Manor Walks in Cramlington.
The proposed development at Manor Walks in Cramlington.
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A REVAMP being planned for Cramlington town centre could bring up to 900 jobs to south east Northumberland, according to the developer behind it.

Revised proposals for the redevelopment of the Manor Walks shopping centre went on show on Friday as the first phase of a consultation exercise on the project, expected to cost tens of millions of pounds, got under way.

London-based property developer Hammerson predicts that its planned redevelopment of Manor Walks could bring 500 jobs during the construction phase of the new multiplex cinema and restaurant units, and a further 400 jobs once the work is completed.

Speaking at a meeting of Cramlington Town Council the night before, project manager John Grinnell said: “There are up to 400 jobs in the creation of the cinema, retail units and restaurants, which will be both full and part time.

“The cinema itself will employ up to 150 staff, and we expect a further 500 jobs for the two construction parts of the scheme for the people needed to build and fit the units.

“Hammerson has an ethos of working with local people to secure the jobs.

“We try to work with the relevant authroities to create a strategy where we are working with the local people in terms of job creation.”

Coun Ian Ayres said: “I am thankful that we are moving forward.

“The creation of jobs is particularly pleasing because we have high levels of unemployment in Cramlington, and this will hopefully fill the gap by getting people into part-time and full-time work.

“All the things that came from the members of the public have been incorporated in this scheme, and I am looking forward to getting it passed in planning and the development beginning, and finishing in late 2012.”

Coun Alan Armstrong added: “I am really pleased this has happened, and because it is a relatively short timescale, it is more believable and I hope it comes off.”

Hammerson’s proposals to build a new cinema – together with family restaurants and cafés – went on show at the shopping centre last week, four years after its redevelopment plans were first unveiled.

It has now revealed it is hoping to attract big-name chains such as Frankie and Benny’s and Nando’s to the centre.

The identity of the operator in the frame to run the cinema has yet to be confirmed, but the building is expected to offer seven to nine screens.

It is hoped that a planning permission application can be put together within the next two months, with a view to work beginning early next year and being completed by the end of 2012, if the project is given a quick thumbs-up by Northumberland County Council.

Hammerson has set up a community information line, open from 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays, on 0800 652 3367 and is taking e-mailed queries at enquiries@manorwalks.co.uk