Angry and disappointed residents remain unconvinced about the future of Bedlington town centre, after its redevelopment stalled earlier this year.
The latest time-scale for the regeneration project focused around the town's former Tesco site, which is being led by the county council-owned company Advance Northumberland, is aiming for the 12-month construction of the new shops to start in the autumn.
But this would still mean the scheme would not be completed until the back end of 2020 at the earliest.
And, as Advance's managing director Ken Dunbar told a lively Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council meeting last night (Wednesday, March 20), this all hinges on getting the anchor tenant - a major supermarket - to sign on the dotted line.
This key store was lined up, but chose to review its options around the time the enabling works to prepare the site got under way, meaning the project stalled when these preparations were completed in January.
Mr Dunbar said that nine other retailers - eight of which would be new to the town - are 'very interested' in taking on some of the other units, but that they needed the anchor store in place to guarantee the footfall.