Wow. Northumberland County Council has today launched the latest consultation in the Blyth Town Deal project. And if you thought the first round of consultation relating to Blyth’s regeneration was good, just take a look at the latest.
Reviewing the new Energising Blyth survey, the primary areas of development are proposed as eight projects. There is no mention of the reconfigured Market Place with Creative Culture space, The Link, or the Laurel Hotel. However, Blyth Media Group understands these are all still on the horizon through other funding streams, not directly connected to the £25 million grant from the UK Government’s £3.6 billion “Towns Fund”.
Blyth Town Deal Project proposals for Towns Fund
Three exciting additions include the Energy Central Learning Hub, Battleship Wharf & NEP1 connectivity, and the Bearing Technology Centre to add to the portfolio along with the Energy Central Institute
Projects previously mentioned in PR by either the Port of Blyth or Ore Catapult, local powerhouses renowned for partnership working, in collaboration with Northumberland County Council and friends – Blyth it seems, is poised to become the renewable energy capital of the North.
The good news doesn’t stop there either. The addition of an annual cultural programme, an “Annual Event” to tie in the cultural heritage of the town perhaps led by a cultural ambassador experienced in managing events means Blyth is once again focusing on attracting tourists.
Imagine an event that works for residents – think Blyth Town Councils’ recent “Santa’s visit to Blyth” or the renamed Blyth Live music event and add in the regional appeal to tourists of the Tall Ships Festival in 2016.
Suddenly Lord Ridley’s 1903 idea of a coastal tourist town may start to become a reality. (Read about Blyth Ridley Park here)
The next element neatly combines the introduction of the Ashington to Newcastle rail line via Bebside and Newsham through a Town Centre Cycle Corridor between the train station at Bebside and the centre of Blyth. This ensures not only safe cycling for residents through Blyth, but also ties in nicely with students visiting from Newcastle and bordering towns, which may be studying at the Energy Central Learning Hub or Energy Central Institute of Research, Innovation & Skills Facility.
For those wishing to move to Blyth, Town Centre housing is also now on the agenda. Underutilised or vacant buildings – the example they make is Poundstrechers; presumably the upper floors – will, at last, see attempts made to resolve Blyth’s problem of undervalued property and empty stores.
With retail in the high street declining, the proposal to put homes next to a rejuvenated market, a new hotel and a designated cycle link to the station; Blyth is at last being thrust forward into the twenty-first century.
Here’s to 2021 seeing these projects get off the ground. Well done to all involved. The future’s bright – the future is Blyth.
The projects they are proposing to submit on the Energising Blyth website include;
1) Energy Central Learning Hub (ECLH)
A 20,000 square ft training and education facility and visitor centre at South Harbour, adjacent to Commissioners Quay. (image above)
2) Battleship Wharf & NEP1 Connectivity
3) Blyth Bebside to Town Centre Cycle Corridor
A a cycling and walking corridor between Blyth town centre, the proposed new train station at Bebside, and key employment sites in Blyth.
4) Blyth Northern Gateway
The Blyth Norther Gateway part of the Blyth Town Deal will deliver a programme of improvements to footpaths, cycleways, public spaces, street lighting and digital signage, improving access to Blyth town centre from the north.
5) Bearing Technology Centre
The Centre will provide testing equipment to help businesses bring new products to market.
6) Energy Central Institute Research, Innovation & Skills facility
The facility will work alongside the Energy Central Learning Hub to provide an end-to-end pathway of energy sector skills development, from schools, to FE, vocational learning, and up to higher education and PhDs.
7) Creative Place-making Programme
An annual programme of events and activities will be delivered across Blyth, building on the town’s successful track record in recent years and working with partners in the town, promoting and celebrating the unique culture and heritage of the town and the wider local area.
8) Town Centre Living
New high quality residential homes will be built in Blyth town centre by re-purposing existing vacant buildings.
Credits – Photos, illustrations and project summaries in the above itemised list from Northumberland County Council – The Energising Blyth Team – Energising Blyth website,