Town’s regeneration plans will go on show

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PROPOSED major new investment for Wallsend town centre will be revealed at a public exhibition next week.

The plans, which are being taken forward by NewRiver Retail in partnership with North Tyneside Council, involve the modernisation of The Forum Shopping Centre and the addition of new retail space including a new 44,500 sqft foodstore.

The exhibition opens at Unit 3 at The Forum next Thursday from 10am to 5pm, where representatives will be present to answer any questions.

Allan Lockhart, executive property director of NewRiver said: “Since we first presented our ideas for the revitalisation of Wallsend last year, we have been working hard to ensure that we had the necessary agreements in place with North Tyneside Council to deliver these ambitious plans.”

The draft proposals envisage that the former Co-op store will be completely re-modeled to provide four large new retail units which aim to attract high street names to offer wider and more varied shopping choice in Wallsend.

The Forum Centre will also benefit from a major refurbishment.

“We know from our contacts with hundreds of local people and businesses that there is a strong desire to see a better and improved town centre and we’re delighted to say that we are now close to submitting a planning application,” said Mr Lockhart.

“The draft plans also make provision for the construction of a new foodstore on land to the rear of The Forum as well as a new surface car park of around 314 spaces to supplement the existing decked car park.

“New accesses to the car park are planned off High Street and Elton Street.

“Local people have been telling us that they would like to have a new modern foodstore and that the loss of the former Co-op foodstore has had a big effect on consumer choice as well as impacting on footfall.

“Although by no means certain at this stage, we are working hard to attract a major food operator and are hopeful that this can be achieved.”

North Tyneside Mayor Linda Arkley added: “This is good news for Wallsend. I know how important the redevelopment of The Forum Shopping Centre, including a new supermarket, is for residents.

“I’m pleased that NewRiver are now at a stage where they are outlining their investment plans and are inviting people to give their views.

“It’s one of a number of regeneration schemes in Wallsend, which includes our new customer service centre that is now open in The Forum Shopping Centre where it is offering improved facilities for customers.”

The exhibition next week will also include a computer animation, showing a ‘fly-through’ of how Wallsend town centre will look after the development has been completed.

The plans will remain on display until the end of April, enabling local people to give their views.