Global engineering, management and development consultancy firm Mott MacDonald have been appointed to deliver a new town centre investment strategy for Blyth town centre.
Blyth is one of 100 towns which is set to benefit from the Government’s £1 billion Future High Streets Fund.
Mott MacDonald will be working with Advance Northumberland which is leading the development of plans for the renewal of the town centre for Northumberland County Council.
Mott MacDonald is leading a consortium of experts including Aspinall Verdi, IDP Architects and Hall and Partners – bringing a wealth of experience to support development of the town.
Following the successful Blyth Town Forum stakeholder event which over 2,000 people attended in September 2019, in early 2020 there will be further announcements about engagement and events with members of the public and stakeholders in the town providing the opportunity to shape the plans to reinvent the town centre as they are established.
This appointment follows the successful submission to the Future High Street Fund for development funding earlier this year by the county council with plans 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 is now being developed in details to renew and reshape Blyth town centre.
Mott MacDonald will be working to develop options to remodel the town centre, improving connectivity to the Riverside and South Beach to attract more visitors. This will include establishing plans to deliver a range 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.
In Summer 2020 a bid for funding from the Future High Streets Fund and a wider process to develop a Town Deal for the area will be submitted to the Government to secure investment to be used to improve access into the town centre, repurpose empty retail units and invest in vital infrastructure.
Councillor Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration at Northumberland County Council, said: “It’s fantastic news that we have secured respected experts in town centre renewal to work with us in Blyth welcome the news that our exciting development plans for Blyth town centre. This provides a 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.”
Warren Taylor, Blyth Town Council Mayor, said: “Blyth Town Councillors and officers are relishing the opportunity to continue contributing to the exciting work of the Blyth Town Forum, helping to ensure that local people have an opportunity to influence the Energising Blyth vision.”
John Kovacs, Project Manager with Mott MacDonald added: “Mott MacDonald is excited to be working with Advance Northumberland and Northumberland County Council in partnership with a consortium of specialist firms to help improve the town centre environment in Blyth and help it to attract new businesses and improve local growth.”