Poll reveals support for arcade plans

A SURVEY has revealed overwhelming support for plans for the redevelopment of Ashington’s Central Arcade.

Some 84 per cent of those quizzed about the future of the former Co-op building in Woodhorn Road came out in favour of proposals to open a community arts centre there.

Ashington Community Development Trust wants to redevelop the upper floors of the grade II-listed building so they can accommodate a community facility to promote the arts, entertainment and the town’s heritage.

The trust is drawing up plans for the building and looking for potential funding.

Kevin Lillie, its business development officer, said: “It is important that we meaningfully engage with the community to help ensure that our proposals are sustainable.

“We have been very encouraged by the positive interest and support of residents.

“Interestingly, in a separate survey, as many people who were interested in the redevelopment of the old Asda site wished to see the Central Arcade redeveloped.”

According to the survey, nine out of ten people in Ashington would like to see a cinema, concert hall or theatre opened in the building.

More than three quarters of those asked would like to see a rehearsal and workshop space provided, and 70 per cent were keen to see a gallery and exhibition space created. More than 80 per cent wished to see community facilities retained on the main street.

Mr Lillie added: “The future continues to look bright for the Central Arcade, which has fond memories for many in the community.

“The development trust hopes that the creation of the community arts centre would be complementary to existing facilities, such as Wansbeck Performing Arts Academy, Woodhorn Museum, the YMCA and the proposed leisure and community facilities project.

“A redevelopment within Central Arcade would support town centre regeneration and bring back much-needed and fully-accessible community facilities to the heart of the town and the main street.”