Work set to start on new library and retail units

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WORK is set to begin soon on the first phase of a major redevelopment that will bring a state of the art library to Wallsend.

NewRiver Retail, owners of the Forum shopping centre, will start work on the library, community centre and extended retail space at the centre, in partnership with North Tyneside Council.

The local authority’s approval of its 2013-14 budget has given the green light for NewRiver Retail to progress plans approved late last year to regenerate the facility and transform the currently vacant Co-op building into a modern 50,000 sq ft library and community centre with three additional new retail units on the ground floor.

NewRiver Retail said the £5m investment to deliver the development demonstrates its commitment to help regenerate the town and drive economic sustainability.

Phase one of the project includes re-modelling the former Co-operative store, the introduction of mixed use community facilities and refurbishment of the Forum.

The relocation of the existing Wallsend library from Ferndale Avenue and the incorporation of the council’s customer service centre, will form the community facility, which will also create new jobs.

Work is anticipated to begin soon with the partial hand over of the retail units expected in October 2013 and completion of the library in early 2014.

The second phase of the planning approval includes the proposed construction of a new 46,000 sq ft food store and approximately 300 space car park.

Allan Lockhart, property director at NewRiver Retail, said: “NewRiver is delighted to be partnering with North Tyneside Council to deliver the new library, community centre and a new retail offering to Wallsend.

“NewRiver’s strategy is customer-centric and the renovation of the vacant units demonstrates our commitment to town-centre regeneration and the improvement of the Forum shopping centre for the benefit of retailers and customers.”