Blyth residents rubbish claims of article in The Sun that the town is 'blighted' and in decline

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People in Blyth have hit back after a national tabloid described their home as a ‘wasted UK harbour town’ and ‘blighted Blyth’ this week.

The Sun said Blyth had “gone into steep decline since [shipyards] closed in the Sixties” in an article about how the south of England received more levelling up cash than the north last week.

It suggested the town centre was “lined with bargain stores, vape shops and derelict empty buildings, and a hangout for junkies and alcoholics.”

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Blyth town councillor John Potts said: “There is still a lot of this negative publicity around, but actually there is a lot going on in Blyth now.

The headline of The Sun's article.The headline of The Sun's article.
The headline of The Sun's article.

“It is difficult in every town centre throughout the whole country at the moment. I wouldn’t say Blyth is any worse than anywhere else.

“If someone has a negative comment that seems to get in the headlines, but all the good things that are going on do not get mentioned so much.”

Although The Sun’s article highlighted a lack of levelling up money for Blyth, government funding from sources such as the Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund has been forthcoming.

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This has led to projects such as a cinema and culture hub in the town centre, in addition to infrastructure projects such as the Northumberland Line.

Blyth Library in the town centre, a building constructed in 1882.Blyth Library in the town centre, a building constructed in 1882.
Blyth Library in the town centre, a building constructed in 1882.

There are positive signs for businesses in the town too, from local deli 14 Stanley Street to Port of Blyth’s growing involvement in offshore renewable energy.

While Britishvolt collapsing into administration was a blow for the town and the North East as a whole, Cllr Potts was optimistic the values of the site could still create jobs, and said he “would be very surprised” if a factory was not built on the site.

Secretary of the Rotary Club of Blyth, Peter Malone, said: “We have lots of new businesses opening up and lots of groups and organisations working very hard and working together to make it a much better place than it has been, so there is a lot of positivity going around the town.

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“What they are saying is totally incorrect. As far as I’m concerned, Blyth is on its way up, not on its way down.

“I think the town has come a long way. There are a lot of positives, for now and for the future.”