Blyth to benefit from Future High Streets Fund
27 Aug 2019
Blyth is one of 50 towns which is set to benefit from the Government’s £1 billion Future High Streets Fund.
The town will now have the opportunity to develop plans to reinvent its town centre - and bid for funding which could be used to improve access into the town centre, repurpose empty retail units and invest in vital infrastructure; all designed to increase footfall and engagement in living, working, setting up business and visiting Blyth Town centre.
A submission to the fund was made earlier this year by Northumberland County Council and plans are being developed through the Blyth Town Forum regeneration partnership - which includes Blyth Town Council, Advance Northumberland, Northumberland Estates, Port of Blyth, Active Northumberland and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.
Together the Forum backed the new ‘Energising Blyth’ vision, which has been put forward to Future High Streets Fund to renew and reshape Blyth town centre.
The proposals will now progress to the second phase of the Future High Streets Fund and receive up to £150,000 to support the development of detailed project proposals that can be submitted for capital funding.
The proposals will explore options to remodel the town centre, improving connectivity to the Riverside and South Beach to attract higher footfall. This will include establishing plans to deliver a future proofed mixture of uses including retail, leisure and housing.
The project will also consider how low carbon technology can be used in the town centre; helping businesses reduce energy bills.
The county council and Advance Northumberland will start extensive work with stakeholders and engagement with users of the town centre this Autumn 2019, and further details of this will be announced in due course.
Councillor Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration at Northumberland County Council, said:
"I welcome the news that our exciting development plans for Blyth town centre have been shortlisted by the Government.
“This is a fantastic boost alongside our existing investment programme in the town, including proposals for Blyth Relief Road, new investment in offshore wind and energy industry on the Quayside and the reopening of the Newcastle to Northumberland line.
“We will be working closely with our partners through the Blyth Town Forum to progress our Energising Blyth investment strategy, aiming to bring about a fundamental change in the fortunes of the town centre.”
Joe Hughes, Clerk of Blyth Town Council said “
We are very pleased that funding will be available to help revitalise Blyth Town Centre. We look forward to working together with partners through the Blyth Town Forum to energise our town.”
The latest announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnston added 50 towns, including Blyth, to the original 50 announced in July 2019, This comes on the back of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund announced last month, which included an additional £325 million for the Future High Streets Fund, taking the overall Fund to £1 billion as the Government looks to drive forward local growth.