Just eight of 20 shops were let when the council bought Keel Row. Credit: NCC

Keel Row closes for good

The shopping centre will be demolished this year as Northumberland County Council looks to reshape the town in the £90m Energising Blyth programme.

The centre was formally closed on the evening of Tuesday 20 February.

NCC bought the centre from Northumberland Estates last summer, the property company having been trading it at a loss for some time.

Energising Blyth is being delivered by Northumberland County Council and funded by a blend of funding streams from national government, NCC and the North of Tyne Combined Authority, with support from other partners.

Cllr Kath Nisbet, NCC ward councillor for Croft Ward said: “This is a very sad day for me but also an important one to mark because the centre has been a vital part of the life of the town for many years.

“I would like to thank all the businesses that have traded from the centre over the years and I know many residents will have fond memories of in its heyday. I would also like to thank Trevor Gyllenspetz and the management team at the centre who have kept the centre going in tough times over recent years.

“I’m looking forward to seeing positive development of the town centre in the coming years as part of Energising Blyth and with building work now underway on a new and exciting offer for the town.”

The borough is pushing for consent on a relief road as another element of supporting Energising Blyth. Key parts of the town centre programme include a 24,000 sq ft cultural hub, approved last summer, amid the wider Market Square development, and the Energy Central Institute.

There is a £2.7m public realm improvement programme under way, while the new Northumberland Line rail service will include a stop at Blyth Bebside.

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It’s great to see some big thinking for Blyth. This must be the spirit of Willie Carr.

By David Watts

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