Improvements: More quality is required

I normally roll my eyes at the whingers complaining about the state of Blyth, but I thought the letter entitled ‘We deserve better shops’ makes an excellent point. (News Post Leader, November 12).

Blyth is never going to rid itself of the ‘drug capital ‘90s’ title if we don’t better our town centre.

How many more ‘discount’ shops do we need? Poundland, Poundworld, Bargain Buys, Poundstretcher, Iceland, B&M Bargains, Perfect Home, countless charity shops and the second-hand outlets in Bowes Street. No wonder house prices don’t pick up.

We have three new major housing developments in Blyth, the newest being Portland Wynd in Laverock Hall Road, which is selling five-bedroom detached houses for £270,000. Where are the high tax paying, high salary earning residents of these houses going to shop? Poundworld and Bargain Buys in Blyth? Or will they be going to Next, Sainsburys, Frankie & Bennys, VUE cinema and M&S food at Cramlington, which is not much further a distance?

I have lived in Blyth all my life and bought two houses in the town, and recently have wondered why. These shops are not going to bring a better class of people or tourism.

Take note from Amble, a small seaside town with very little there, but this summer it was booming with tourists attending the little sheds on the harbour selling art, crafts and holiday knick-knacks.

The old farmhouse and stables at Blyth beach car park is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses, cafes or a pub/restaurant.

And more parking bays need to be utilised. Why do we have six electric vehicle bays? In the last year I have only seen two vehicles charging and I am at the beach every day, but see pensioners attending the chip shop struggling to find a space.

We are only three miles from Seaton Sluice, and not much further lies Whitley Bay’s caravan park and Tynemouth, a coastline of great footfall that should be visiting Blyth.

The beach huts at Blyth are rarely used and even in summer there are low numbers in use. Why not rent these out to local businesses in summer months for art and craft classes, or adopt a similar approach to Amble? Several of these could even be made into a small cafe.

I can see the progress in Blyth, but don’t believe it will ever reach its full potential if we are going to concentrate on building office blocks when we already have vacant buildings.

I note the improvements, however – Wetherspoons, the popular photographed beach huts, the outstanding and well maintained Ridley Park.

Let’s keep this going and really make Blyth boom, instead of people continually saying, “Oh, you’re from Blyth.”

Name and address supplied