On a recent visit to the town of my birth (I was a Beulah House baby), I was interested to read the report of the benefits which were to accrue to the town as a result of the new development for Commissioners Quay in Blyth.
The enthusiasm and expectations of those associated with the project would, I believe, only be matched by those who built office blocks years ago and which now languish empty.
I understand these old offices are now empty as they are not appropriate to the needs of ‘today’s business’ Why not alter them rather than building new ones?
It was suggested that this new building would attract and grow jobs and high growth enterprises.
I would ask, who are these businesses and what attracts them to Blyth? Is it the range of shops, or the leisure activities, art galleries, concert halls, museums, educational establishments, clean, crime free environment, scenic beauty good access to national motorways, quality housing, why Blyth?
The project is designed to “build on the strengths of this area”. Just what are these business strengths?
We have no takers for the offices which are lying empty, and I do not see businesses queuing up to come to the town.
The team are to produce a ‘master plan’ for the site (cart before the horse?) and to establish facilities which will attract new businesses.
If we do not have these facilities now, how are we to attract? We have not managed to attract many so far.
The scheme also includes residential development.
Are the schools able to cope with the influx of pupils which will invariably come from these and the many new housing schemes already taking place?
Are the medical facilities going to be sufficient?
Entering and leaving Blyth by the three main access roads is already a nightmare at times, and the Bates site housing scheme has not yet begun.
I appreciate there are a number of people working very hard to rejuvenate the town I was born in and have great affection for, but I do believe there are too many unanswered questions surrounding this new (rather un-attractive to my eye) workplace.
The deputy leader of the county council and chairman of Arch Group states there is ‘currently no workspace’ of this type in Northumberland. Which might just beg the question that there is possibly no real need for it.