Town centre's new look is taking shape
Work to transform Wallsend town centre is continuing to take shape.
A multimillion-pound regeneration programme is being led by North Tyneside Council and its partners.
More than 100 jobs are expected to be created when a new Aldi supermarket and drive-through Burger King restaurant open this September at the Forum Shopping Centre.
Centre owners New River Retail started work to improve the area last December, while the build work on Aldi is under way.
The council has helped shape and steer the project by assisting to put the land together for redevelopment.
Among other work taking shape is a new external seating area for the JD Wetherspoon pub, formerly The Ritz Cinema.
The site will also feature a 214-space car park, available to town-centre shoppers, which will provide two hours’ free parking.
NewRiver has also completed extensive refurbishment works on the Forum Shopping Centre, adjoining the Customer First Centre and library.
The recently-completed improvements include major roofing works, replacement of damaged glazing, full decoration of the mall, repairs to the Terrazzo flooring, renovation of customer toilets and refurbishment of the indoor market, which is now being fitted out for 52 traders by the new operators.
Emma Mackenzie, director of NewRiver Retail, said: “It is enormously satisfying to hand over the sites to Aldi and Burger King in the most recent phase of our regeneration of Wallsend town centre.
“The long awaited reopening of the indoor market will be an additional attraction to the town and an incubator for flourishing entrepreneurs.
“Having our aspirations closely aligned with the council has allowed so much to be achieved to ensure a vibrant town centre for the future.”
Elsewhere in the town centre, the former police station and temporary housing centre in High Street East were recently demolished to make way for 41 new affordable homes.
Work is continuing to identify potential new sites across the borough where more affordable housing could be built, including sustainable brownfield locations such as Wallsend town centre.
And latest figures reveal that nearly 1.2m people visited the recently restored Wallsend Parks last year.
That is a rise from 984,000 in 2011 before the major regeneration works, which include new play facilities, began.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “It is fantastic to see these latest developments taking shape – the new Aldi and Burger King will complement the recently refurbished shopping centre and make a huge contribution to an increasingly vibrant and attractive town centre.
“I’m delighted to see the progress being made in bringing the indoor market back too as the previous market always proved extremely popular.
“This is another positive step as the hard work to put the heart back into Wallsend continues.
“And it’s great that so many people are taking advantage of the excellent new facilities on offer in Wallsend Parks and I look forward to seeing the continued transformation of the town for everyone who lives, shops, works and visits.”