The site of a redundant Amble factory could become a tourist attraction that brings local food producers under one roof.
A working group led by the community is looking into ideas including making the Northumberland Foods land into a food hub.
If the idea went ahead, the site at the entrance to the town would promote the rich variety of foods from the surrounding coast and countryside and draw visitors at a time when interest in home cooking and healthy eating is soaring.
The building at the county council’s Coquet Enterprise Park is to be demolished after standing empty for more than 12 months. Over the years, it was a base for Jus Rol, Cheviot Foods and then Northumberland Foods.
Members of Amble Business Club last Wednesday welcomed the suggestion of pursuing a food hub. It is hoped the county council, which with The Design Council is working with members of the community, will have a business plan drawn up.
Business club chairman Colin Harris said the process of tendering for demolition was being started again. One requirement was to remove 40 tonnes of CFC refrigeration chemicals and take them to the nearest specialist recycling centre, then at Hartlepool, but that had now closed and the nearest was at Birmingham.
The council said demolition would start as soon as possible.
A spokeswoman said: “The council recognises the economic and the visual importance of this site at the southern gateway to Amble and has been pleased to secure the involvement of The Design Council through its Public Services by Design programme to work with Amble Development Trust, representatives of local Amble businesses, the local community and voluntary sector and the town council, to determine a future use for the site for the benefit of the local community.
“A number of alternative ideas and proposals for the future of the site, and the broader regeneration of Amble town as a whole, have been discussed and are being investigated in more detail. No decisions have been made yet.
“Planning permission has now been given for demolition and a preferred contractor selected.
“We are progressing with the preliminary work and approvals that are needed before the demolition contract can start. No specific date has been identified for demolition to start, but this will progress as soon as is possible.”