Department store’s sale ‘imminent’

Westgate Co-op Department store at Waterloo Road, Blyth, which is closing down.
Westgate Co-op Department store at Waterloo Road, Blyth, which is closing down.

Plans to create more retail units in Blyth have been welcomed by local officials and councillors.

Progress is being made on the sale of the former Westgate House department store in the town centre, which is expected to go through “imminently”, those close to the bid have revealed.

And once the sale has been completed, developers plan to split the store and let the newly created units.

John Chillcott, chief excecutive of Anglia Co-operative which owns the Waterloo Road building, said: “I am anticipating a sale going through imminently to a developer who has plans to split the store and let the units for retail.

“Hopefully the site will once again be contributing to the retail landscape of Blyth early in 2014.”

The department store closed at the end of June this year, with the loss of 34 jobs.

The plans to return the prominent building back to retail outlets has been welcomed.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said: “I believe this is another vital step for the town and future prospects for Blyth, including the employment aspect.

“I am hopeful this will be a major contributing factor to the retail landscape of Blyth in 2014.

“I have once again approached Primark about possible investment in the town and I hope to get an equally positive response.

“In addition to Northumberland County Council’s multi-million pound Blyth infrastructure investment programme and with the continued support of Blyth Town Team, I am confident we can achieve an excellent prospective for the town.”

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun Grant Davey, said: “This is a real shot in the arm for the town and the proposed development of Westgate House will complement the investment of national businesses like Weatherspoon and Subway.

“We’re dealing with a further round of cuts imposed by a government led by the Conservatives but we’re determined to make sure that we ‘grow Northumberland’ and we believe that our refurbishment of historic buildings along Bridge Street and our decision to modernise the library site to create a ‘service hub’ show we’re serious about Blyth.”