INVESTMENT: Looking to the future

It's clear that the momentum created for investing in Bedlington continues to build.

Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:43 am

It’s encouraging to see that the community is getting behind efforts to help attract new investment to the area, and there’s a feeling of real positivity around the town.

The new £10m town centre development is an important part of a £27m investment package for Bedlington, and it’s important that initiatives like these complement our efforts and help to create a sustainable town centre.

The development will act as a significant contributor to the economic growth of Bedlington, providing 180 permanent new jobs and 33 construction jobs, and it will inject at least £1m into the local economy.

The new Lidl store is a real statement of intent for Bedlington and demonstration of confidence from the private sector.

In November we concluded a successful public consultation event where exciting designs for the town centre were revealed. More than 170 residents attended, more than 5,000 people visited the Investing in Bedlington website, and feedback from the local community was extremely positive, with 98 per cent saying they were in favour of the plans.

Importantly, many residents acknowledged that the new designs showed the team had taken into account concerns from the initial consultation and created more parking, more retail and less residential provision in the final designs.

Progress continues with the submission of the outline planning application and the team is working through the process to secure approval.

We are now about to ask the local community to take part in a competition to find an appropriate name for its new town centre and, as promised, we’re organising a vote, which opened on February 14 and closes on Friday, March 3.

The campaign will be led by young members of the Bedlington community to ensure we provide a voice for future generations, who will continue to see the benefits of the new town centre.

The community will be able to vote using our website but ballot boxes will also be available across a number of Bedlington’s schools and business venues.

Progress is also being made on a new residential development on the old school site. Planning permission has now been received, which gives the green light to move forward with the creation of 18 two-bedroom apartments. The development will start on site in March, and the residential provision will offer a much-needed affordable option in Bedlington for the over 55s.

Plans for a town centre sculpture are also under way. A design team has been appointed and, again, young members of the Bedlington community will help to develop these designs and play their part in bringing the town centre to life.

Working together positively for the town will give us a real opportunity to create a lasting impact felt through the generations.

It’s great that we’re all looking to the future of the town, and what’s happening now makes Bedlington stronger and a more investable proposition for the future.

Peter McIntyre

Chief Executive, Arch: The Northumberland Development Company