Northumberland County Council’s dedicated development company has delivered almost £76million of investment since 2012, although only around £13million of this was in the north of the county.
Arch was established by the county council as an arms-length organisation to drive capital economic development, physical regeneration, business growth and to attract investment. Working to priorities set by the council, in the last three years, new housing, commercial development and regeneration projects have been delivered and expectations have been exceeded on a number of major schemes.
In commuter and rural communities in north and west Northumberland, there are major projects and targeted interventions with support to facilitate private-sector investment projects too.
In Berwick, around £5.5million has been invested in areas such as new commercial office developments, in Amble, £7million is making a difference and, with the addition of the council’s Seafood Town project, transforming the town centre with new facilities to attract visitors and businesses. Alnwick has seen £890,000 of investment.
The bulk, however, has been spent in the south-east of the county. This includes in Ashington where Arch have invested more than £18million contributing to the renewal of the town centre and Northumberland County Council has invested £21million in the new leisure centre with support from Sport England through a contribution of £1million of National Lottery funding. In Blyth, almost £22million has been invested in areas such as the new Commissioners Quay mixed-use scheme to support communities and businesses.
Coun Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “I am delighted that the council’s policies and ways of working are reaping rewards – as demonstrated by the drop in unemployment figures.
“We have taken a number of actions over the last two years all focused on supporting growth for businesses and communities alike, including major transport schemes such as progressing the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne Line investment, re-configuring our own services to focus on town centres, increasing the amount we spend on procuring services locally and via other actions such as supporting communities who wish to remove car parking charges – with many towns reporting an increase in trade as a result.
“Through the forthcoming five-year economic strategy for Northumberland, we will be building on this work to deliver our vision for a prosperous county – founded on quality local jobs and connected communities. I look forward to more good news on this front.”