Contractor chosen for major scheme

From left, Coun Bill Crosby, Arch chairman Richard Wearmouth, Coun Russ Wallace and Coun Malcolm Robinson.
From left, Coun Bill Crosby, Arch chairman Richard Wearmouth, Coun Russ Wallace and Coun Malcolm Robinson.

A key Bedlington town centre development has reached an important milestone as Tolent Construction Ltd has been appointed the main contractor.

Arch and its successor company Advance Northumberland is leading the delivery of a retail-led scheme on a site to the north of Front Street, which includes land formerly occupied by the Tesco store,

With the first phase plus the infrastructure and access elements being given detailed planning approval last month, Tolent will now commence an enabling package of works on the site.

They will start later this month, with the aim of having them completed by the end of the year.

These works consist of site preparation and getting it ready for construction to begin next year.

Arch chairman Richard Wearmouth said: “The appointment of the main contractor is a major step forward for the project.

“We are committed to delivering this exciting scheme that will provide local jobs, new opportunities and new shops and services.

“There’s a lot of interest from retailers in the new development and we’re confident that the new additions to the town centre will make it an even more attractive place to shop locally.”

The scheme is likely to include a new supermarket and a number of high street retail brands, and it is estimated that it will create more than 180 new jobs, along with 70 jobs during the construction phase.

In a joint statement, Bedlington’s Independent county councillors Malcolm Robinson, Bill Crosby and Russ Wallace said: “After a period of neglect and uncertainty, the start of the building phase will begin the transformation of the eyesore that is currently our town centre into what we are confident will be a thriving and successful retail development.

“It is what the people of Bedlington have been waiting for and richly deserve.”