The multi-million pound scheme to transform Ashington town centre has taken another major step forward with Advance Northumberland securing planning permission for its flagship scheme on Portland Park.
The planning consent includes a multi-screen cinema, restaurants and car parking, with outline planning permission also granted for up to 12,000 sq ft of additional retail space and more parking.
A further phase of the Portland Park scheme comprising 20,000 sq ft of new retail space and car parking is anticipated to be submitted in the next few months.
Last year Advance Northumberland exchanged contracts with Reel Cinema to operate the leisure facility and secured a land sale to a national retailer for the development of 20,000 sq ft retail unit on the site.
Combined these private investments provide the nucleus and funding package that includes a £4.6m loan from Northumberland County Council along with a £3m grant to support the scheme.
Work could start as early as Spring 2020, subject to all planning and contractual conditions being satisfied.
Council Leader Peter Jackson said: “This ambitious but deliverable scheme is the culmination of carefully planned public and private investment into Ashington town centre, which has always been one of our priorities.
“It’s fantastic news that working on behalf of the County Council, Advance Northumberland has been able not only to secure high quality private investment into Ashington but also ensure we have an attractive new, high quality mixed use development on this very important site and we look forward to work starting as soon as possible.
“This major town centre development is an exciting new start for Ashington and its community.”
Richard Wearmouth, Chair of Advance Northumberland, added: “We’re delighted to be bringing this mixed use development and cinema attraction to the centre of Ashington. It will bring new jobs into the town centre and attract many new visitors, increasing spend and footfall so that the whole of Ashington will benefit including existing retailers and consumers alike.”
“This will be the latest phase of the ongoing regeneration of the town, with a number of other opportunities coming forward over the coming months.”