Pod Park Blyth: Plans for shipping container village for Northumberland
A bid to create a shipping-container village in Blyth Marketplace has been lodged with Northumberland County Council.
The plans, through Blyth-based agent Planning Online UK, seek permission to use the land for upcycled shipping containers to provide retail and leisure facilities plus a permanent tented roof covering.
To be known as Pod Park Blyth, a planning statement suggests the scheme ‘would afford substantial and wide-ranging opportunities for those wishing to establish new business enterprises on a small scale and dip their toes into business without significant risk.
‘With support and guidance available on Pod Park in terms of business development, they would have every opportunity to not only survive but thrive in what is currently a challenging economic climate.’
The document states that ‘while it is accepted that there is an element of the traditional market stall, it is hoped that with the significant level of investment, we will be able to attract a higher quality of offering creating a destination location.
‘This we hope will encourage the small operators to put down commercial roots in Blyth town centre in the longer term.’
It adds that because of the size of the container units, ‘it is felt that they do not pose any competition to the existing town-centre offer and only enhance it’.
This application comes as plans are in the pipeline for a major regeneration of Blyth town centre, with Northumberland County Council last month agreeing to at least double its contribution to a total overhaul port of £40million.
It is currently one of 50 towns shortlisted to benefit from the Government’s £1billion Future High Streets Fund (FHSF), with a full business case to be submitted by the end of this month. Subject to approval, it would be delivered over three years from April 2021.
The town is also set to benefit from the national Town Fund, with an initial £750,000 boost announced last week.
The proposal has attracted one objection so far, with Stephen Ince saying: ‘It was my understanding that Blyth wanted to improve the overall appearance of the marketplace, with a view to making Blyth more appealing to visitors and businesses.
‘How on earth will recycled shipping containers improve the town centre?’
He suggests that similar schemes in Newcastle and York ‘have the appearance of a dumping ground or scrapyard for old containers’.