Plans for Blyth town centre move forward

A global firm has been appointed to help deliver a new town centre investment strategy for Blyth.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 4:40 pm
Investment plans for Blyth town centre have moved forward.

Engineering, management and development consultancy firm Mott MacDonald will work with Advance Northumberland after Blyth was chosen as one of 100 towns set to benefit from the Government’s £1billion Future High Streets Fund.

Mott MacDonald is leading a consortium of experts including Aspinall Verdi, IDP Architects and Hall and Partners – bringing a wealth of experience to support development of the town.

Following the successful Blyth Town Forum stakeholder event attended by more than 2,000 people last September, further engagement and events with members of the public and stakeholders in the town are planned for early 2020, providing the opportunity to shape the plans to reinvent the town centre as they are established.

The appointment follows the successful submission to the Future High Street Fund for development funding earlier this year by Northumberland County Council with plans being developed through the Blyth Town Forum regeneration partnership – which includes Blyth Town Council, Advance Northumberland, Northumberland Estates, Port of Blyth, Active Northumberland and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

Together, the Forum backed the new ‘Energising Blyth’ vision, which is now being developed in details to renew and reshape Blyth town centre.

Mott MacDonald will be working to develop options to remodel the town centre, improving connectivity to the Riverside and South Beach to attract more visitors.

It will include establishing plans to deliver a range of uses including retail, leisure and housing. The project will also consider how low carbon technology can be used in the town centre, helping businesses reduce energy bills.

In Summer 2020 a bid for funding from the Future High Streets Fund and a wider process to develop a Town Deal for the area will be submitted to the Government to secure investment to be used to improve access into the town centre, repurpose empty retail units and invest in vital infrastructure.

Coun Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration at Northumberland County Council, said: "It’s fantastic news that we have secured respected experts in town centre renewal to work with us in Blyth welcome the news that our exciting development plans for Blyth town centre.

“This provides a boost alongside our existing investment programme in the town, including proposals for Blyth Relief Road, new investment in offshore wind and energy industry on the Quayside and the reopening of the Newcastle to Northumberland line."

Warren Taylor, Blyth Town Council Mayor, said: “Blyth Town Councillors and officers are relishing the opportunity to continue contributing to the exciting work of the Blyth Town Forum, helping to ensure that local people have an opportunity to influence the Energising Blyth vision.”

John Kovacs, project manager with Mott MacDonald, said: “Mott MacDonald is excited to be working with Advance Northumberland and Northumberland County Council in partnership with a consortium of specialist firms to help improve the town centre environment in Blyth and help it to attract new businesses and improve local growth.”