A SUPERMARKET chain plans to open its new Blyth store within the next 12 months.
Initial works are already under way, and Morrisons has now appointed McLaren Construction as its main contractor for the project.
The new town centre store will be much larger than the existing Regent Street one it is being built next to.
Morrisons development executive Richard Bakes said: “Once built, the new store will offer greater choice and create additional car parking to serve both the store and the town centre.
“Our research shows that many residents travel out of town to do their weekly shop. Our flagship store will bring local people back into the town centre and attract shoppers from outside the area, helping to regenerate this historic town.
“We are completely committed to working alongside Northumberland County Council and the Homes and Communities Agency to regenerate Blyth town centre.”
Preparatory works started earlier this year with the relocation of a telephone mast to a temporary location and grouting-up of old mine workings to stabilise the site ready for the new development.
The existing store will continue to trade until the new one opens within the next financial year.
All the store’s existing staff will be transferred, and up to 150 extra jobs will be created.
Once the new store is open, the existing Morrisons building will be demolished and the site cleared to make way for additional car parking.
The county council and Morrisons are working together to make various improvements to the town centre.
Tom Brechany, the council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “The redevelopment of the Morrisons store and its surroundings represents a vital step towards delivering a town centre that better meets the needs of local residents and visitors.
“The partnership between the council and Morrisons will not only secure the continued vitality and viability of the town but, in the longer term, will also hopefully trigger further development and investment in Blyth.”