Work on regenerating Bedlington town centre has reached a major milestone.
Demolition work has been taking place on the rear of the former Tesco store in the Market Place.
That work is nearing completion and Arch, which has been leading the delivery of a mixed use development, is preparing to clear the site which has been earmarked for investment in the town centre.
Demolition experts Thompson’s of Prudhoe were appointed to clear the site in preparation for future phases of the development.
Ryder Architecture, a regionally-based company with experience working with local communities, is working on detailed designs for the redevelopment.
The demolition work has taken 12 weeks and incorporated the former Tesco store and adjacent vacant properties.
The next stage includes investigation into the ground conditions where the buildings once stood in addition to other site assessments.
An outline planning application preceded by public consultation for the new development is targeted for this autumn.
Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and chairman of Arch, said: “We would like to see this central Bedlington site back in use and contributing to the regeneration of the town’s economy.
“The Tesco site demolition is a major step towards this long term regeneration scheme and is a positive sign of our future plans.
“The work in Bedlington is part of Northumberland County Council’s plan to regenerate and create economic growth in the county’s main towns.”
Local county councillors Alyson Wallace, Val Tyler, Terry Johnstone and Jeff Gobin all welcomed the development’s progress and stressed the need to involve local communities wherever possible.
In a joint statement they said: “This is a great opportunity for Bedlington and we’re absolutely committed to making this project work as a major boost to our town.
“This is evidence that Bedlington is on the rise and when you look at the investment in the parks, in the school and with private sector investment, you’re looking at an investment package of over £25m for the town.
“We’re pleased that Arch kept inconvenience to a minimum and was a top priority as the old Tesco site was demolished.”