Mock up of artwork on store

Colourful scenes to adorn town centre shop

Northumberland County Council is providing artwork wraps to improve the look of a closed store in a prominent location in Hexham town centre.

The Hexham Outlet Centre, formerly Beales, closed its doors earlier this year, and there are plans for the site to be redeveloped.

As soon as the store closed the council recognised the need for appropriate coverings for its doors and windows, and has been working since then to get wraps designed and manufactured.

The brushed aluminium boards will show colourful scenes that give a flavour of the sort of future uses that it is hoped the building could have - with a mixed scheme of retail, leisure and residential being considered.

The building has a long history in Hexham, having for many years been a department store owned by the Robb family, who first established their business in the town as far back as 1818.

Cllr Cath Homer, Northumberland County councillor for Hexham East said:  “We know that the former Beales, and before that Robbs, building is held in great affection in the town.  It also holds a very prominent position, with entrances on two of the main shopping streets.  

“We therefore felt that it was extremely important that it should look attractive until a new development is agreed and underway.  The council took steps to get some wraps produced as soon as it could, and I am delighted that these are about to be installed.”

Leader of the council, Peter Jackson, said:  “Supporting town centres and retailers is a top priority for the council and we’re doing a lot of work to ensure that Hexham is fit for the future, including this support with the former Beales building, and bringing investment initiatives like the High Streets Heritage Action Zone.

“I continue to be impressed by the great examples of Hexham businesses doing innovative things to keep trading in recent difficult circumstances, and I want the town to know that we are here to support you.

“We know that key sites like the Beales store are very important for the future prosperity of Hexham, and we are working with partners with the aim of securing a positive future for it as soon as is possible.”

The council and its regeneration company Advance are working with current owners of the Beales building, Buccleuch Property, with the aim of bringing forward a joint scheme which will breathe new life into the building and surrounding areas.

Nick Waugh, Commercial Property Director at Buccleuch Property said:  ‘We have been in detailed discussions with the Council and Advance for several months now and are getting close to agreeing the support necessary to bring forward what is a cornerstone project for Hexham which we recognise as critical to sustain a vibrant town centre for the longer term.

“These are very challenging times for many businesses and investments in joint private and public sector initiatives like this will greatly assist in the recovery process”
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