A decade-long regeneration project which has transformed a former colliery site in a South East Northumberland town has been successfully completed.
North East employer Banks Property and leading land and property regeneration company Harworth Group plc have concluded a joint venture through which the site of the former Bates Colliery in Blyth has been remade into a vibrant part of the town.
Banks Property started work on the remediation of 30 acres of land on the site back in 2009, in preparation for a range of development works which have since followed.
These have included the construction of the new Morpeth Road Primary Academy School, the development of specialist accommodation for people with learning disabilities operated by Lifeways and a new residential development of 142 homes created by housebuilder Gleeson Homes.
An extension to the Port of Blyth has also been facilitated by the regeneration, allowing it to expand its renewable energy operations, while a new Lidl supermarket is open on adjacent land on Cowpen Road.
Banks Property and Harworth Group have now passed part of the public highway and a footpath leading to the Morpeth Road school, which were the final small areas of land under its control, onto Northumberland County Council, bringing their involvement with the site to a successful conclusion.
Michael Shuttleworth, managing director at Banks Property, says: “We’ve maintained an excellent working relationship with the Harworth team right through this landmark project and it’s great to see how the Bates Colliery site has been transformed over the last eleven years from derelict, undesirable brownfield land into a thriving part of Blyth.
“Even though the property market was in a very challenging position in the aftermath of the 2008 global economic crash, we took a strategic decision to get on with remediating the land then, so that we’d be able to move swiftly once conditions improved.
“This approach paid off by allowing the projects that followed to happen far more quickly than would have been the case had we held off.
“The regenerated site makes a positive contribution to the local community in a wide range of different ways and is an excellent example of how taking a long-term view of this sort of development can lead to substantial benefits arising.”
Owen Michaelson, Chief Executive at Harworth Group plc, added: “I’m delighted by what’s been achieved in Blyth, which is testament to the hard work of Michael Shuttleworth and the team at Banks Property, our former North East Director Eddie Peat and Northumberland County Council.
“It also proves that long-term regeneration programmes are most successful when backed by a strong public-private partnership and we hope that what’s been developed can be used and enjoyed by local people for decades to come.