Blyth town centre regeneration moves forward

Major plans to kick start Blyth town centre’s renewal have moved a step closer.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 10:00 am
Plans to revitalise Blyth town centre have move forward.

Northumberland County Council has been asked to support a near £40million investment programme prior to a bid to the national Future High Streets Fund (FSHF) this summer.

A recent report to a council meeting said that subject to a successful FHSF application, the town centre development programme could be delivered from next year.

It will be made up of a combination of funding from the FHSF, the County Council and commercial partners.

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The council already has £7million earmarked for the regeneration of the town centre over the next three years and Cabinet members were asked to more than double this amount to kick start the renewal of the town.

If the FSHF bid is successful, the funding will support a programme which delivers a revitalised Blyth Marketplace and Bridge Street with new culture and leisure facilities in the heart of the town centre.

The programme also includes projects which focus on improving green space, cycling and walking improvements to better connect the town centre to the quayside and support an increase in physical activity whilst also ensuring the town is safe and welcoming to all users.

Blyth is currently one of 50 towns shortlisted to benefit from the Government’s £1billion Future High Streets Fund (FHSF). A final submission to the fund could be made in July.

The County Council has been working as part of the Blyth Town Forum over the last year with public, private and community sector partners working together to back the ‘Energising Blyth’ vision.

A full business case for the scheme will be submitted to the government by the end of July and, subject to approval, would be delivered over three years from April 2021.

Plans for Blyth are part of the county council’s wider town centre investment programme which is working to boost the prospects of towns across the county.

Coun Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is a hugely ambitious scheme which will transform Blyth town centre, which has been in decline for a number of years despite the growing success of the energy industry in the town.

“We want to attract more people to the town centre, whether that’s to live, work or visit. We need to encourage people to come and spend more time here by creating the buzz of a busy and thriving area.

“Like town centres across the country times have changed and we need to address a whole range of issues, from how buildings are used, to how people get around – with an increased focus on green travel including more cycling and walking opportunities.

“With plans for two stations close to Blyth on the new Northumberland Line and a new relief road in the pipeline, along with new employment opportunities anticipated through investment at the Port and the new Northumberland Energy Park, this is a fantastic opportunity to revitalise the town centre for generations to come.”