Work to demolish a former town centre supermarket is due to begin shortly.
Plans to demolish the rear of the old Tesco site in Front Street, Bedlington, have been approved by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee as part of £10million proposals for the town.
Demolition experts Thompson’s of Prudhoe have been appointed to clear the site – earmarked for new retail units and starter homes – and will take ‘ownership’ of the site from May 31.
Plans for the design are being drawn up by newly-appointed design consultants Ryder Architecture.
The demolition is seen as a key milestone as Ryder Architecture prepare the detailed designs.
Arch Developments have revealed the redevelopment is ‘one of the company’s top priorities over the next year’.
The plans will build on designs recently showcased to more than 1,000 residents and will include various aspects of the Bedlington ‘competition’ designs which were identified by residents as important.
One area identified by Bedlington Steering Group and residents was the provision of ‘affordable starter homes for local families’.
Arch Developments are writing to those affected by the demolition to explain arrangements and how it will impact on local communities.
Dave Ledger, deputy leader of the Council and chair of Arch, said: “Bedlington has been looking forward to this project and the involvement of over a thousand residents in the recent design competition is testament to a community appetite to put the closure of Tesco behind us.
“The demolition of that site to make way for a new £10m investment is a major step forward and this project is one of the top priorities in Northumberland for both Arch and the authority.
“With Thompson’s handling the demolition and Ryder, the design consultants on site, we’re now seeing momentum behind the project.
“Local residents told us what they liked and would like to see addressed in the design competition and now Ryder are working on detailed designs to reflect those issues where we can.
“We’re already working with Northumberland County Council to look at how parking is utilised in the new designs along with the provision of a mixture of houses including affordable starter homes which are vital for the commercial sustainability for the development.”
Local councillors Alyson Wallace and Val Tyler both welcomed the developments 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 £10m 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 is taking time to explain how safety and keeping inconvenience to a minimum is a top priority as the old Tesco site is demolished and we’d urge them to keep the community ‘in the loop’ as plans progress.”