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Proposed Amble retail park includes a Morrisons store

A CGI of the proposed retail scheme in Amble.
A CGI of the proposed retail scheme in Amble.

Plans for a new retail park in Amble, including a ‘ground-breaking’ Morrisons neighbourhood food store, will go on show next week.

It is envisaged that the supermarket would be complemented by other national retailers – not yet named – a petrol-filling station and a drive-thru facility.

The scheme – earmarked for the former Northumberland Foods factory site at Coquet Enterprise Park – is a joint venture between Arch and Morrisons.

It also features car-parking provision for 352 vehicles.

The plans will go on display on Tuesday from 2pm to 7pm at Amble Development Trust, Fourways Two, Dilston Terrace, and the public is encouraged to give feedback.

The retail-park plans were announced in the spring, but it is the first time that more precise details have been revealed, including that Morrisons would operate the 25,000 sq ft food store. The shop would be a ‘concept store’ with a focus on fresh foods and deli and would be the first of its kind in the North East.

Amble traders in the town have already expressed their concerns about the scheme, fearing that it will have a negative impact on the town centre, especially if a much-campaigned-for centrally-located car park is not forthcoming.

More than a thousand new homes have been or are set to be built in Amble and Arch says that the retail park would transform the town’s southern gateway and provide a destination of choice, adding that it would bring jobs to the area and ‘ensure Amble has the shopping experience it deserves’.

The development company says that it is keen to ensure that there are retail units available for local traders and opportunities to sell local produce.

Arch claims benefits include:

○ Improving and diversifying the range of retail and local amenity available to local residents;

○ Regenerating a prominent, derelict site;

○ Reducing the need for local people to travel elsewhere to do their shopping;

○ Significantly boosting the local economy, creating new jobs and jobs in construction;

○ Completing the development of a key site as part of the broader regeneration of Amble by Arch.

As well as the supermarket, there would be 35,000 sq ft of other retail, split across units ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 sq ft. The development would include improved vehicle access into the site and improved connectivity to nearby housing for pedestrians and cyclists.

Arch chairman Coun Richard Wearmouth said: “Working with Morrisons has been rewarding. Our plans will contribute a great deal to the regeneration of the Enterprise Park. This includes attracting private investment, creating opportunities and jobs for local people while boosting the economy of Amble and surrounding areas.”

Subject to the consultation, the planning application submission is targeted for late summer and, subject to approval, work is anticipated to start early 2019 with a store opening later that year.

A hotel and restaurant, operated by the Inn Collection Group, is due to open at the Enterprise Park later this year.

In June, a retail park – set to feature Starbucks, Marks & Spencer Foodhall, local butcher Turnbull’s and other units – was approved for Alnwick, amid criticism from town-centre traders.