Competition to draw up new plan

Tesco, Bedlington.
Tesco, Bedlington.

A competition is being held to open up potential ideas to help regenerate a town centre.

Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, is working with Northern Architecture on the design competition to help produce a coherent town plan and kick start the regeneration of Bedlington town centre.

The competition seeks to develop a deliverable strategy and concept designs for the former Tesco site.

It will culminate in a public exhibition in January 2016 for residents to view and comment on shortlisted entries, ensuring the winning design has local support.

The winning architects will be appointed to develop plans for the site with the aim of achieving planning permission in summer 2016.

Entrants will be asked to develop concept designs that address, among other objectives completing the revitalisation of the Market Place; supporting the vitality of Front Street; creating a more walking and cycling friendly environment; encouraging town centre living; and supporting a better street and parking environment.

Coun Grant Davey, Northumberland County Council leader, said: “Local people were understandably disappointed when Tesco pulled out of Bedlington, and called on the council to act.

“We have given Arch a powerful remit to deliver the regeneration of this important site, and this design competition will both give momentum to our ambitions for Bedlington and ensure that local people have a strong say in the outcome.”

Peter McIntrye, chief executive of Arch, said: “Bedlington is a place where people want to live and businesses want to invest, and our job is to channel that into development that is both commercially sound and makes the town as whole an even more attractive and economically successful place.

“Choosing a lead designer in this way will enable us to get on with the job confident in the knowledge that the approach we’re taking has support in the community.”

Lowri Bond, director of Northern Architecture, said: “Northern Architecture’s mission is to promote and engage the public in architecture and place-making, and design competitions are a proven way to capture people’s imaginations and channel their appreciation of their local area into creative input to how it evolves.

“We are looking forward to working with Arch and the local community in Bedlington to help find the right team for this important brief.”