Malcolm back in town to bring vitality and viability

Malcolm Hutchinson has been reappointed as Blyth Town Manager and he is seen at  Blyth Market Square.
Malcolm Hutchinson has been reappointed as Blyth Town Manager and he is seen at Blyth Market Square.

IT’S a case of deja vu for Malcolm Hutchinson as he is reappointed town centre manager for Blyth.

The 62-year-old was first given the role in 1999 but stepped down after six years in the position.

Following a number of meetings held by Blyth Town Council, however, local businesses and stakeholders decided that the most positive step towards the regeneration and economic wellbeing of Blyth town centre would be to bring him back.

And Malcolm, who lives in Ryton, Gateshead, was only too happy to oblige.

“I had retired and there is no way I would come back to work anywhere else accept for Blyth,” he said.

“I have an affinity with Blyth and I know a lot of people here.

“I have been here before and I am pleasantly surprised that there are so many businesses still operating in the town.

“Individuals are still here and if things had been that bad a lot of them may have gone to the wall.

“Nobody is making millions but they are still here so they deserve town centre management to give them the consistence to go forward.”

At a town council meeting earlier this year, 80 businesses formed Blyth Town Team, which will aim to explore avenues for future funding to be secured for the continuation of the manager position.

Around 15 of those businesses then created a steering group to drive town centre management forward, not just for businesses but for other stakeholders and organisations with an interest in the development of the town centre.

Malcolm is looking to identify key areas to improve Blyth, such as encouraging other businesses to invest and fill empty shops.

He said: “I am looking to improve the vitality and viability of Blyth town centre, to try and get more people to come into Blyth and support the local business.

“But it is not just about looking at the business and retail side, it’s looking at the community and all sorts of stakeholders and to try and up the profile of the town centre.”

Blyth Mayor Kath Nisbet said she is delighted to have Malcolm back on board.

She said: “It is the best way forward because in the past when we had a town manager they would help get more things going on in Blyth. It will bring Blyth alive again.”