Council backs retail park, but has concerns

A computer-generated image of the proposed retail park in Amble.
A computer-generated image of the proposed retail park in Amble.

Amble Town Council welcomes a proposed retail park, but does have concerns and wants support to be given to town-centre businesses.

Arch (Development Projects) Ltd and WM Morrisons Supermarkets PLC have teamed up to put together the application, earmarked for the former Northumberland Foods factory site at Coquet Enterprise Park.

The scheme, known as Amble Retail Park, would be anchored by a Morrisons foodstore and also feature a petrol-filling station and a drive-thru coffee shop, and two retail terraces comprising six units. The site would also have a car park for 352 vehicles.

Once built, the scheme would provide up to 200 new jobs, plus around 90 jobs during construction. The development, if permitted, could be open in 2019.

Giving its feedback to Northumberland County Council, which will consider the application, the town council has said that it welcomes the fact that it would bring a derelict site back into use and create ‘much-needed employment’.

But, members are mindful about the potential detrimental impact that the scheme could have on existing town-centre business.

So the town council has said that it wants the retail park to have advertising boards, in a prominent position, which allows current businesses to advertise their offers.

They are also calling for the town centre to be ‘prominently and clearly signposted’ and would also like to see some of the car-parking spaces be designated for longer-term stays, to encourage people to spend time in the town.

Other comments include the possibility of having a site for a ‘badly-needed recycling area’.