The multi-million pound redevelopment of Bedlington town centre has reached a major milestone after a ground breaking ceremony at the former Tesco store.

Work is now officially underway on the scheme, following the creation of Advance Northumberland and approval at Full Council today (7 November).

Advance will lead the delivery of the retail-led development that will regenerate a high profile, derelict town centre site, improve retail opportunities and give local people greater choice.

Advance Northumberland, which has replaced Arch, has a clear remit to improve prosperity, quality of life and increase business activity throughout the communities of Northumberland.

Tolent the appointed contractor on the Bedlington scheme will now commence an enabling package of works with the aim of having them completed by the end of the year. These works consist of site preparation and getting the site ready for construction to commence next year.

Retail operators are likely to be confirmed later in the year, and the scheme is likely to include a new supermarket, and a number of high street retail brands. It is estimated this exciting town centre scheme will create over 180 new jobs, along with 70 construction jobs during construction phase.

Richard Wearmouth, Chair of Advance Northumberland, said: “This is a major milestone for Bedlington and a big step forward for the regeneration of our county.

“We know how important this development is to the local community and Advance Northumberland is committed to ensuring it is of the highest standard and something the people of Bedlington will be proud of.

“The core of our business is making sure sure local economic growth benefits local people by supporting businesses, building new homes and creating jobs they need.

“This new start for Bedlington is also a fresh start for the new company which will deliver positive change throughout Northumberland.”

On behalf of fellow Bedlington Independent County Councillors Malcolm Robinson and Bill Crosby, Cllr Russ Wallace commented:

“We are delighted that work has now started on site in Bedlington. The Market Place is the centre of our town and its development is crucial to the future of Bedlington. After a period of neglect and continuing uncertainty, the start of the building phase will begin the transformation of the eyesore that is currently our town centre into what we are confident will be a thriving and successful retail development.  It is what the people of Bedlington have been waiting for and richly deserve.”

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