Plans to regenerate Wallsend town centre are moving forward as more businesses move in.
Major high street names are among those who have set up in the town with a key figure in the oil and gas industry is the latest addition.
Engineering consultancy G. Robinson Design Engineering Services Ltd, also known as GRDES Ltd, has moved into Centre for Innovation – the £2m state-of-the-art business centre on the Swans North Tyneside site on the banks of the river Tyne.
The company produces detailed engineering designs and drawings for offshore and onshore energy structures, as well as doing site surveys and supervision for the transportation and installation of the structures.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “Here in North Tyneside, we are absolutely committed to supporting job creation and helping businesses to grow, which is why we built this fantastic state-of-the-art facility and I am thrilled that is has attracted so many brilliant businesses.
“With the Centre for Innovation almost fully occupied, along with our thriving office parks and fantastic local businesses, it goes to show that North Tyneside really is the place to be for business.
“This is such an exciting time for Wallsend as Swans come back to life and the extensive regeneration of the town centre gathers pace.
“I am delighted that Greg and his team have decided to relocate to North Tyneside. I’d like to wish them every success for the future.”
Greg Robinson said: “The move to Swans heralds a new chapter in our history, as it will support our mission to establish ourselves as a reputable engineering consultancy.
“The office is ideally located within the heart of the energy sector, and will provide opportunities to work with neighbouring businesses, as well as supporting the local economy.
“We look forward to taking our business to the next level and our new offices will enable us to expand the team to meet the challenge.”
Wallsend town centre is also thriving with major brands moving in and existing facilities undergoing a refurbishment. Hundreds of people attended the opening of the new Aldi store on High Street West next to the Forum shopping centre, which is part of an expansion featuring a new Burger King.
Mrs Redfearn said: “As many residents will know, the regeneration of Wallsend is extremely important to me, and the council has been working extremely hard with its partners to transform the town for local people, visitors and businesses.
“Over the last month or so, as the project gathers pace, we have celebrated more milestones and I am delighted with the progress.
“I made a promise to the residents of Wallsend to replace eyesore flats with a supermarket and I am delighted that we’ve made that happen, and it was a pleasure to meet so many people at the opening of Aldi last week.
“Recently, we’ve also created lots of lovely affordable housing in the area, which are now home to happy residents, invested heavily in Wallsend Park and the town’s Customer First Centre continues to attract many visitors.”
The Forum Shopping Centre is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
A host of activities are planned on December 1, with one person in with a chance to win an all-inclusive holiday for two if they attend the centre at 4.30pm with their passports and suitcases, and are able to leave with their travel partner straight away. Locals have also been providing a selection of old photos from the last 50 years, which the centre will be displaying for a trip down memory lane.
A kids birthday party will be held on the day at 4pm with food, entertainers and prizes.
Shoppers can also get a scratchcard with their purchases, with a host of prizes up for grabs.
Nick Lambert, Centre Manager, said: “We felt we needed to do something a bit different to celebrate our 50th birthday this year and say thank you to the local community for their continued support.”
On Saturday, the indoor Market Village – based inside the Forum – will open after a multi-million pound regeneration.
There will be face painting, balloon modelling, characters from Disney’s Frozen and a performance by local singer, Chloe Hill.
The Market Village, which has up to 52 flexible stalls, is run by Groupe Geraud.
Jim Smith, area manager for North Tyneside at Groupe Geraud, said: “We are very excited about bringing Market Village to Wallsend and joining recent arrivals Aldi, Burger King and Wetherspoons.
“The town is really on the up thanks to its recent multimillion pound regeneration and the Market Village will be adding to the liveliness and variety on offer.
“Wallsend is an exciting addition to our portfolio, and a testament to the knowledge and teamwork that Geraud can provide to councils and shopping centres across the country.”