Former factory is becoming an eyesore

Cheviot Foods/Northumberland foods boarded up factory in Amble.
Cheviot Foods/Northumberland foods boarded up factory in Amble.

ANGRY councillors have hit out at the state of a former factory in Amble, believing its current appearance could stop interested parties coming forward.

The Coquet Enterprise Park premises was forced to close its doors in March.

It came after attempts by Longbenton Foods to purchase the former Northumberland Foods site fell through, following the Newcastle-based company going into administration.

Around 80 people were made redundant from the Amble site.

Since then, the factory has been stripped bare and boarded up.

But members of Amble Town Council believe it looks an eyesore – an issue made worse by the fact that it is sited on one of the main entrances to the town.

And they are calling for action to be taken.

Speaking at Thursday’s meeting of the town council, Coun Craig Weir said: “It is barricaded up. It looks awful. It looks disgusting.”

Coun Helen Lewis agreed.

“It looks appalling,” she said.

“It is worth getting in touch with the administrator saying that we feel that the sight of it will detract any potential sale.

“Could they tidy the area up?”

Coun Ian Hinson also felt that the fact that the building had been stripped could also hamper a sale.

“There is nothing left. It is just the shell of the building. The only value of the site is the site itself. It is rather difficult to find a use for the full site.”

Amble town and county councillor Robert Arckless said: “The sad thing is we were hit by this at the worst possible time.

“To be fair to Northumberland County Council, they worked very hard to try to keep the factory afloat. Unfortunately it didn’t work and we are left with the consequences.

“There has been some interest but it hasn’t gone forward unfortunately.”

He added: “The county council own the land that the factory is on, they don’t own the building.

“The situation, as I understand it, is legally the administrators are still responsible.

“I made the point about the visibility of the building but unfortunately it is the administrators’ problem, not the county council’s.”

The meeting also heard that the county council had asked town councillors if they had any ideas about possible interested parties.

“They are saying we might have more local knowledge and if anyone had any bright ideas they would be considered.”

Coun Sam Palin said that one possible route to explore to try to sort out the appearance of the building is to ask the county council if, under the terms of the lease, the administrators would be bound to take responsibility for its upkeep.