Rail line jobs boom predicted
Almost 1,600 jobs could be created in and around Seaton Valley as a result of the Northumberland Line Rail project.
The scheme to restart passenger services on what was previously the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne Line, is expected to be completed by 2024.
And industry experts have predicted the benefits could be far wider than just a quicker journey in and out of Newcastle.
James Hall, partner at planning consultants Barton Willmore, claimed the route could be one of “the single most effective infrastructure investment that could be made in the next decade”.
He added: “This rail link would put thousands of workers within commutable distance of key employment sites and open up this portion of South East Northumberland to even more inward investment.
“The economic success of Newcastle and Tyneside more broadly need not be at the expense of other places such as Seghill, Blyth and Ashington.
“Instead, by connecting them we create a stronger cluster of businesses.”
The view has been backed by Port of Blyth, which said it has already seen an increase in investment and interest in the area.
Assessments have suggested up to 4,000 new homes could be built on sites near stations at Seghill, Seaton Delaval, West Blyth and Bedlington.
And a further 750 operational jobs and 505 supply chain roles could be created if new business parks are given the green light as well.
Cllr Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The Northumberland Line project will make a huge difference by allowing more efficient travel and better access to employment opportunities.
“Since taking control of the council in 2017 we have worked alongside the Government and we’ll continue that work so that our residents benefit from a project that has been talked about for so long but has only made tangible progress since we made it a priority.
“Once operational these passenger services will be available to well over 100,000 Northumberland residents in the south east of the county.”
Council opposition leader, Labour’s Scott Dickinson, added: “We are delighted to see the Ashington, Blyth, and Tyne Line coming to fruition and agree it’s key to unlocking the North.
“It’s great to see the vision of the [previous] Labour administration being realised, validated, and supported across the North by businesses, individuals, and others.”