Dozens of new jobs are set to be created across two supermarkets in south east Northumberland.
Lidl has announced plans for two stores in Blyth and Bedlington – creating up to 50 new jobs across both.
The news is a further jobs boost for Blyth which has seen two new stores open in the town earlier this month, creating around 50 new jobs in the process.
It is part of a wider investment programme agreed by the German retail giants which is likely to see more stores built across Northumberland.
Lidl is planning to move into a bigger and better store in Cowpen Road in Blyth, with up to ten new staff joining the existing workforce.
And in Bedlington a new store is planned at the council’s current Day Care Centre off Schalksmuhle Road – creating up to 40 new jobs.
Following consultation with service users, the Day Care Centre is being relocated to the former Mowbray First School in Choppington.
Coun Alyson Wallace said: “We’re passionate about creating a town that punches above its weight in tough economic times.
“As councillors we’ll make sure that the county council recognises the unique needs and attributes of the town and the Lidl investment is an exciting opportunity to provide new retail and job opportunities for residents.
“Everyone felt the closure of Tesco’s keenly but we’ve moved quickly through ARCH to first secure the site and now create a new retail opportunity for residents.
“While we must attract private sector investment in to supplement council investment it won’t be at any price and we’ll be seeking assurances and lobbying hard to make sure that the old school site lives up to local expectations.
“We’re now gearing up for the consultation on new phases of regeneration of Bedlington in October and we’re confident that by working with local residents we can really allow Bedlington to ‘punch above its weight’.”
Planning permission is being submitted for both developments in the coming weeks – with the building work set to start in the new year and the stores aiming to be open before Christmas 2016.
Cowpen Ward coun Susan Davey, said: “We’re committed to the future of all market towns in Northumberland and it’s great news a top high street name is planning a big investment in the county and especially here in Cowpen.
“The success of towns like Blyth and Bedlington is critical as the council, with its development partner Arch, looks to support economic growth in the coming years.”
Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell added: “I welcome the news that Lidl will be creating up to 10 more new jobs when they move to the new premises at Cowpen Road in Blyth, this is excellent news and I wish them all the best in their new store.”
Chris Blyth, Lidl’s senior consultant for Acquisitions in north east England and Cumbria, added: “We are delighted to announce these latest investments, which demonstrate Lidl’s commitment to Northumberland.
“Our Blyth store, in particular, is testament to the support that we’ve received from the local community and we look forward to providing our new and existing customers with a bigger and brighter new Lidl store.
“We firmly believe that a store in Bedlington will be equally as successful and very much look forward to submitting our planning application in the coming weeks.”