More than £2 million to be pumped into Ashington to boost local economy and help it thrive

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck.Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck.
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck.
Millions of pounds is to be invested in one of Northumberland’s biggest towns, to make it a better place to live and work.

The Ashington High Street Innovation Programme will see a range of projects delivered in the town over the coming months, with a total cost of more than £2.3 million.

Of that, £1.9 million was secured through a successful bid to the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) Towns and High Streets Programme, which identified Ashington as one of three centres which would benefit from “targeted funding”.

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Speaking at a meeting of the council’s cabinet, deputy leader Richard Wearmouth said: “This will make sure Ashington becomes a thriving part of our county and is absolutely fundamental to everything we’re trying to do in the south east corner of the county.

“It is a really great project that will see the centre of Ashington thrive.”

Local MP Ian Lavery, who has long campaigned for more money to be pumped into towns in his constituency such as Ashington, said: “Any news that Ashington is getting more investment is good news.#

"Ashington is a town with a rich history and huge potential. This money, alongside further bids for money from the Levelling Ip fund, could help unleash that potential, helping to bring further jobs and growth.

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"However, there is still lots of work to do in getting investment into other towns across Wansbeck that have been held back for just as long, such as Bedlington, Newbiggin and many more,

and I will continue to do everything I can in my power to help make that happen.”

The three key projects are:

Public Realm Improvements and Connectivity – to make it easier for pedestrians to navigate around the town and create attractive and greener routes to key destinations. This will include creating a more visible access, to bring visitors through to Portland Park and connecting this area with the high street’ Animating Ashington – this project will deliver a programme of cultural and heritage inspired events based on colour and animation. This will “improve the town’s current cultural offer,” including a programme of events throughout the year and activities could include festivals and craft and lifestyle markets; The Accelerate Ashington Business Support Programme – this will be delivered by Advance Northumberland, providing a support service to a range of businesses and individuals looking to grow or create new businesses within the town and in particular the centre. The aim is to develop an increased sense of pride and community across the town.

Coun Wojciech Ploszaj, Cabinet member for business, said: “This is great news for the town and the programme will bring a diverse range of improvements, from physical work to make it easier and more pleasant to get around the centrem to cultural and business projects.

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“We are awaiting the outcome of a significant bid to government for transformational improvements to the town centre, and with the Northumberland Line also coming, it is a very positive future for the town.”

Council leader Glen Sanderson extended his thanks to the combined authority for the project’s funding.