Light at the end of the tunnel on main street

Work being carried out on shops in Queen Street, Amble.
Work being carried out on shops in Queen Street, Amble.

AN Amble town centre building which has stood empty for around four years is set to be transformed following a grant of almost £100,000.

Amble Development Trust has secured £93,767 of funding for interior restructuring work to the old Co-op department store on Queen Street and the money will be spent on dividing the existing ground floor space into three separate retail units.

Town firm DP Builders Ltd, which is based at Coquet Enterprise Park, has won the building contract and work is set to start soon, with those behind the bid eyeing a 12-week completion date.

Julia Aston, director of the Trust – which took on the ownership of the building around three years ago – said: “It’s good to see all the Trust’s hard work has come to fruition. Hopefully, it will have a positive impact in Queen Street, rather than the half-shuttered building which was there before.

“I’d like to thank the funders and everyone who worked so hard in bringing this together. I’d also like to thank the local residents and businesses on Queen Street for their patience and consideration.”

Two of the units will be up for rent and a number of inquiries have already been received, while the remaining space may be retained by the Trust.

Newcastle-based architects Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall are the project’s designers.

The money has been granted by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), Defra and One North East and funding was facilitated by Northumberland County Council.

A grant to improve the exterior of the building was awarded last year, with money awarded from English Heritage and the county council’s CAPS scheme, and work began on the shop front in January.

Amble town and county councillor Robert Arckless has welcomed the developments.

“It is good to see some work at last on the old Co-op building,” he said. “The town centre has been through a terrible time over the last three or four years.

“It has been an extremely challenging time, so anything that can bring new investment into the town centre and perhaps give better opportunities for smaller businesses that are looking for somewhere to locate to has to be a good thing.”

For more information about the retail units and to make inquiries, contact Julia Aston by emailing julia@ambledevelopmenttrust.org.uk or call 01665 712929.