A multi-million pound bid is being submitted to Government for transformational improvements to Ashington town centre.
A bid for over £16m will be made next month to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) – a £4.8 billion scheme for eligible local authorities to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life, including regenerating town centres and high streets.
Northumberland County Council and its development company Advance Northumberland, along with the North of Tyne Combined Authority would also provide additional match funding, meaning that a successful bid would deliver improvements in the town centre of well over £20m.
The work is being done in collaboration with the Ashington Town Board which is made up of business, public sector, and community leaders. The public have also been involved in shaping the plans.
The ambitious bid for Ashington focuses on two areas – Wansbeck Square and Portland Park.
In Wansbeck Square the plan is to demolish the existing outdated building and build a new attractive facility incorporating a creative hub for young people, a community hub, a performance space, a council customer service centre and a café.
The project will also include a new green space to provide a much-improved entrance to Ashington next to the new train station – being built as part of the Northumberland Line.
The Wansbeck Square renewal forms part of the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s Northumberland Line Economic Corridor Strategy to accelerate town centre renewal and establish rail stations of the future.
And at Portland Park, part of the LUF bid is for the new six-screen cinema complex and two restaurants as planned on the site for some time.
Separately, work to improve connectivity between Grand Corner through to Portland Park from Station Road will also be undertaken as a complementary project with funding from the North of Tyne Combined Authority and the County Council.
County Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, said: “This is a real milestone for a major redevelopment of key parts of the town centre.
“So much work has gone into preparing this bid and it’s down to the commitment of everyone involved, from residents and businesses through to councillors, Town Board members and all the other partners that we have this ambitious bid to transform the area.”
John Johnston, Chief Executive of Bernicia and Chair of the Ashington Town Board, said: “Partners have worked closely with the County Council to identify a range of projects, that alongside other exciting proposals – such as the re-establishment of passenger rail services to Ashington and a new College campus, will collectively transform our town centre”.
“I firmly believe the projects in the bid will be of great benefit to both residents and visitors and will act as a catalyst for further economic growth in our town.”
More information on the Ashington Town Board is available at www.northumberland.gov.uk/ashingtonip