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  1. Malcolm Robinson

    Bedlington Town Centre redevelopment update:

    Bedlington Town Centre - Councillors Briefing, August 2017 Introduction This report provides an update on progress on the Bedlington Town Centre, former Tesco Site and the Old School housing development. Bedlington Town Centre Summary We are making good progress with development proposals for Bedlington Town Centre, a retail led scheme is emerging that will be capable of transforming the town centre, creating exciting new places to visit, dwell and shop. Once completed, this flagship Arch development will form a pivotal focal point for the town whilst also delivering a truly mixed-use scheme with many positive economic, social and physical benefits. Discussions with prospective tenants, in particular the food anchor, are reaching fruition and a number of corporate retailers have expressed an interest in being part of the scheme. Securing these anchor tenants forms the next stage of development now that outline planning consent is secured. With commercial viability a core objective of the development, our immediate efforts have been concentrated on five key activities: 1. Demolition, site clearance, site investigations and remediation; 2. Design of a financially viable masterplan to demonstrate the capability of the site to the market and provide a balanced mixed-use development that will complement and add value to the existing Bedlington offer; 3. Obtain outline planning permission for the development; 4. Attract new investors into Bedlington to increase retail diversity and create the economic catalyst for commercial development; and 5. Introduce a new housing offer with a diversity of tenures to satisfy market demand for town centre living. Planning The pre-planning submission public consultation was held 6th December 2016 at the Salvation Army Hall. County and Town Cllrs and members of the Bedlington Delivery Group were invited to a preview. Over 150 people attended on the day with 140 providing feedback, of which 98% were generally in support of the development proposals, agreed that there is a need for more shopping and leisure facilities in Bedlington and agreed that the scheme would enhance Bedlington Town Centre. The outline planning application was submitted 9th February 2017 and approved at Strategic Planning Committee in June 2017. The design team meet weekly and are now working with Arch Developments in preparing the ‘reserved matters’ application and discharge of conditions. However, some of the detail is subject to retailers / other users’ requirements, which are yet to be defined. Tenant Profile The scheme is attracting good levels of interest in the retail market and we are confident of underpinning the development with two “anchor” stores. The primary aim is to secure a c.2,000m2 discount food supermarket and a c.1,500m2 non-food discount store, we are in direct discussions with two major retailers to fulfil these roles. Our existing tenant Greggs have expressed interest in a larger unit within the new development. General feedback is looking positive and once the anchors are secured a number of complementary retailers are also keen to take units within the scheme. Once an appropriate level of income/capital is accomplished from sales and lettings, a request for funding to commence the development will be brought forward for Arch Board approval, current target is an Autumn Board. Construction Due to the estimated build cost of the development, the construction will be subject to OJEU procurement (restricted tender). This will require a PQQ stage to shortlist interest from the market, followed by an ITT to the shortlisted contractors. We are currently targeting to commence with the PQQ this autumn with the aim of completing the procurement to enable construction to commence, subject to viability and Board approval, early 2018. Development names A naming competition (My Town My Vote) for the development was launched in February, led by Leading Link, nearly 2,900 votes were cast. The winning name was Pipers Place (947 votes) followed by The Forge (811 votes), Market Square (562 votes) and The Cross (481 votes). Ballot boxes toured local schools in Bedlingtonshire and were placed in local businesses, churches and care homes. The campaign involved the design of a local mascot ‘Bedlington Ben’ and included stickers and posters, all designed by young people involved through Leading Link youth charity. The name is yet to be adopted. Consideration needs to be given to its suitability for a retail led development and also the Council’s Street Naming and Numbering process. Old School, Bedlington Arch acquired the former Old School site situated on the corner of Front Street and Church Lane from a local developer in February of 2016. The site came with the benefit of a planning consent for 19 apartments – granted in 2009 through appeal. The intention is to develop PRS/affordable apartments on the site, targeted at the over 55 market. Arch appointed architects ID Partnership to revise the development, aligning to the PRS market, but maintaining high quality architecture. The revised development provides 18 two bed apartments, ranging from 59-65m2. A section 73 application for the proposed variations was submitted in September 2016 and the variations were approved by Planning Committee in January 2017. Arch Group Investment Committee approval was granted February 2017 for the development and appointment of the contractor NB Clark (Morpeth), following competitive tender. NB Clark took site possession in March 2017. Practical completion is currently programmed for April 2018. At present, NB Clark are currently on programme and are progressing well with ground to first floor brickwork. All underpinning works to the south and west boundary walls are complete.
  2. David Ellis

    Bedlington Terriers FC

    The Terriers need your help. Crowds are at an all time low and we need the old faces back and the new generation of supported to come through. Our current league position is false. We have an exciting team of hard working lads and a very passionate and dedicated management team in Dave and Keith. There's been a lot in the media lately regarding the troubles faced by Chester and Hartlepool. Like many teams at our level, the Terriers rely on volunteers. Any help that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated. - volunteering, helping promote the team, sponsorship etc etc. Cost-effective advertising packages available for local businesses including our ever expanding social media presence. Doesn't have to cost the Earth - deals to be done! Join our supporters page on Facebook and see videos of matches inc Saturday's excellent 6-1 home win. I'm actually an exiled Scarborough supporter. We went bust in 2007, don't let the Terriers be in any risk of going the same way,
  3. Andy Millne

    Bedlington Welcomes Lidl

    The tills were ringing yesterday as Lidl opened their brand new store in Bedlington to mixed but mostly positive reactions. The development provoked protests in May last year when a willow tree much loved by a group of residents was felled. Traffic disruption during the build also caused local residents to voice their anger across social media. The new store is now open however, and employing up to 40 locals. Speaking on Facebook, local resident Marjorie Glass said, "Impressive. It was full of shoppers yesterday, in the midst of that nasty weather. Hope it's very successful and brings folks into Bedlington." Lidl employee Donna Clark, after her shift said, "Can honestly say, after a 10 hour shift, I'm worn out! It's nice to know it's all been worth it and people are happy with the store and the efforts of all the staff today" Others were optimistic but had reservations. Olive Maddigan said, "Just hope we don't lose morrisons as Lidl is great but some things in Morrisons are great too". A new mini-roundabout was recently installed at the junction with Schalksmuhle Road with the aim of reducing congestion caused by the expected increase in traffic to the store and surrounding area. It is hoped that with this new development and other proposals like it residents will be encouraged to shop within the town centre instead of travelling to supermarkets elsewhere. Local media group DW-Media posted a short video of the new store to YouTube which will form part of their Bedlington development series.
  4. Prominent high street retail premises in Bedlington are being offered RENT FREE for 12 months in an enterprise competition. Aimed at encouraging a fresh new approach to retailing in Bedlington, the competition will seek out commercially viable, creative and ambitious ideas that can be made a reality. Startup businesses or existing ones that want a high street presence are able to apply. Not only that but the winner has also been offered half price accountancy fees for the first year of trading by Grimes Accountancy Services and Free advertising on bedlington.co.uk for the lifetime of the business. The successful applications will be put to a public vote. Votes will be cast by members of the bedlington.co.uk town website and local Facebook groups such as Make a Noise for Bedlington, Bedlington Matters and Bygone Bedlington. To enter, applicants should submit a business plan no later than March 31st via email to [email protected] A panel of judges will then choose suitable applications to be put to the public vote. "This is one of the best retail locations in the town, close to a major bank, the post office, and acres of free parking" said Andrew Millne offering up the space. Mayor of Bedlington, Malcolm Robinson, said "What a fantastic opportunity not only to try out your business idea for a whole year with reduced costs but to also work with a first class business advice service (Bedlingtonshire Development Trust) with a proven track record in helping small businesses succeed. It would also seem a very opportune time because your business might just be hitting its viability when the wholesale redevelopment of the Town Centre is underway. I am sure business premises will be at a premium the closer to being finished that gets, so now is the time to dip your toes into the water if you are thinking about it!" Competition winners will see one of the biggest costs of doing business removed entirely for their first year although businesses must be able to show evidence of future sustainability in their plans. Some businesses and local organisations will also qualify for small business rate relief but day to day running costs such as utility bills must be accounted for. "It's time the people of Bedlington had a say in what they need on their high street. By winning a competition like this the enterprising retailer will already have the firm backing of local residents which gives them every chance of success." said Christina Laking, local property investor. Everyone can participate in this innovative competition by commenting on what you would like to see in your town in the comment section below.
  5. Bedlington FC under 11 boys, travelled to Scarborough on May Bank Holiday weekend to represent the town in the prestigious Filey Cup 2018. Hundreds of teams travelled from all over the country to take part in the weekend of football. Bedlington Vipers had won the competition for the last two years running and with the help of local businesses and councils they were able to go back to defend their title. They did just that winning the double by winning their Saturday league and then topped it off by being crowned overall Champions following a highly competitive Sunday competition. The Vipers remained unbeaten all weekend. Manager David Langhorne said, “This group of players are an absolute credit to the Club and the town of Bedlington. We had a brilliant time across the weekend but when the players took to pitch they gave it their all. The weather was glorious but energy sapping for the lads. We are so very proud of their achievements in the Filey Cup and we’ve all made memories for life”. Congratulations to Bedlington FC Vipers and to all of the teams that made it such an exciting competition.
  6. Bot

    Heritage Open Days offer free family fun

    Residents and visitors to Northumberland will be given a rare opportunity to see some of the county’s hidden architectural treasures when the doors to many of its most historic buildings are opened to the public, free of charge. The Heritage Open Days event is taking place between Thursday 7 and Sunday 10 of September. The open days are free and fun and provide an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to explore the fantastic cultural heritage of Northumberland. A wide range of tours, events and activities are on offer. Dozens of attractions are taking part including the ever popular Cragside House in Rothbury. There will be the the opportunity to look around local churches, Morpeth Clock Tower and the Rothbury Trenches. There will also be the chance to look behind the scenes of Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn Museum and get a rare glimpse into the work that goes into preserving diverse collections which cover over 800 years of Northumberland’s fascinating history. Northumberland county Councillor, cabinet member with responsibility for culture , arts and leisure, Cllr Cath Homer said: “ This hugely popular annual event provides free public access to historic buildings and local landmarks, many of which are not usually open to the public. "It's an unmissable opportunity for residents and visitors to get a glimpse behind the scenes, and perhaps get a better understanding and appreciation of our county's rich cultural heritage.” Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers. To view a full list of this year’s attractions visit https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/
  7. Andy Millne

    '3G' Surface Planned for Bedlington Town FC

    Bedlington Town FC, a local sporting club run by volunteers, have today announced that plans for a new full size floodlit 3G sports surface are in the late stages of development. It is reported that all of the required funding has been secured. The club which achieved FA Charter Standard soon after its formation in 2010 has grown quickly with over 300 youngsters now part of the club. The players are a range of girls and boys teams between under 7 and under 18 years, with each squad competing in local leagues under the guidance of fully-qualified volunteer coaches. The club also now have a senior team competing in the Northern Alliance League. Updates regarding the status of the pitch development will follow.
  8. Andy Millne

    Bedlington Robbery

    Police are appealing for witnesses following a robbery at an address in Bedlington. It happened at 1.20pm on Sunday, January 8, at a house in Centurian Way in Northumberland. Three men wearing masks entered the house via the rear door. They threatened the householder, an elderly man, and held him down, and searched the house. They stole jewellery including a gold necklace featuring a Krugerrand coin encrusted with diamonds around the edge set on a gold chain and a gold charm bracelet with charms one of which was a gold padlock. The offenders then left in a black coloured VW Golf saloon car. The householder was shocked and was taken to NSEC Hospital in Cramlington as a precaution. Officers have been carrying out house to house enquiries in the area and are appealing for witnesses. Neighbourhood Acting Inspector Garry Neill said: "We want to hear from anyone who was in the area of Centurian Way at the time of the offence and who may have seen or heard anything which could help officers. This type of incident is unusual and we have extra offices in the area to speak to residents and answer any concerns they may have. "We have an image of the car believed to have been used by the offenders driving away after the robbery and are appealing for help from the public in locating the offenders and the vehicle." Police are appealing for witnesses, anyone who was in the area and who may have seen or heard anything suspicious, is asked to contact police. Officers also want to speak to anyone who knows the whereabouts of the offenders and the vehicle they used, or who may be offered the stolen jewellery for sale. Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting reference number 469 of 08/01/17 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Pictured, the vehicle police want to trace
  9. LazyBed

    EU Referendum Information Shop

    Well The referendum is looming large on the horizon. Project fear is on the go. Pop along to the Referendum shop: 90a Front St East, Bedlington. This website's logo is about the shop. Open Wednesday 10:00 til 14:00. This will be extended towards the Referendum day on 23 Jun. We have free stuff from BREXIT groups: Grassroots Out - http://grassrootsout.co.uk/ Vote Leave - http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/campaign Leave.EU - https://leave.eu/en/local-groups/group/northumberland-leaveeu Better Off Out Please sign up for regular info. Pick up: Leaflets, Pens, Travel card holders, Balloons, Badges. Come and have a chat, discuss issues and voice opinions, Rio Tinto, school places, Doctor surgeries, cost to business.
  10. Malcolm Robinson

    WBTC Youth Voice.

    West Bedlington Town Council have always been keen to listen to resident views and as part of that interaction decided to set up a Youth Council so the views, hopes and aspirations of our younger community members could also be given a voice. Commissioning Leading Link to facilitate this new improvement in community interaction the Mayor and Deputy Mayor have been working closely with the younger members of this new group and both agree what a fantastic bunch of youngsters we have here! One of the first real tasks was to get them to produce lists of their wants and needs as far as developing the Town goes. Not only did we get lists off them personally they also petitioned all of their schools too, so now we have a very in depth directory based on popularity of choice. WBTC is pleased to welcome this new addition to our representative process and we are looking forward to the presentation they will be giving us on February 9th, 4.30-6.00pm at Bedlington Community Centre. We welcome any adults keen to see what our children would like to show us!
  11. ‘Bringing beds and business to Bedlington’ is the aim of two businessmen who are planning to open a hotel in the town, creating 45 jobs in the process.
  12. Tess Nagle

    March Will Month: get a Will at no cost to you

    Northumberland-based QualitySolicitors Lawson & Thompson is offering Wills at no cost* to people aged 55 and over as part of an award-winning Will Scheme partnership with Barnardo’s. The exclusive partnership means those who do not already have one in place can have a simple Will professionally written that captures everything from final wishes and organ donation preferences, to basic inheritance and tax planning, at no cost to them. In return, those taking advantage of the offer will be asked to consider leaving a legacy gift in their Will to Barnardo’s. The scheme has already seen over 3,500 people take part and a huge £16.8m pledged in future legacy income for vulnerable and disadvantaged children throughout the UK since it began in 2010. The money goes towards research and services for young people and families who have a disability or who have experienced poverty, sexual exploitation or domestic violence. Research by Unbiased has shown that around 60 per cent of adults in the UK do not have a will.[1] The top reason people keep putting it off is that they plan to make one when they are older. Earlier research from the Citizens Advice service showed the number of people who are dying intestate (without a will) is rising; queries rose to 3,747 in 2015, up from 1,522 in 2011.[2] QualitySolicitors Lawson & Thompson Partner Tim Barker said making a will is not something people should put off. “A will is the only way for people to legally have their say in how their estate will be handled and distributed,” Mr Barker said. “Having a will not only provides reassurance for you, but it provides clear direction and protection for any loved ones you’re leaving behind. “We all think the worst won’t happen to us, but committing just a few hours now means no one would have to take that risk.” Barnardo’s Senior Will Scheme Client Relationship Manager, Sue Westbury said the partnership with QualitySolicitors is invaluable. “The support and engagement from participating member firms continues to result in very significant numbers of pledges which will help us to plan for the future,” Ms Westbury said. “Barnardo’s currently has three strategic aims – to build stronger families, to make safer childhoods, and to ensure positive futures for the children, young people, carers and families that we work with. We currently operate 1067 services across the UK helping over 301,000 people, and this wouldn’t be possible without the legacy income that we currently receive. “Barnardo’s would like to say a huge thank you to QualitySolicitors Head Office and all the member firms who participate in the scheme.” The law surrounding estate planning and administration is complex and there are risks involved in having a Will that is not properly drafted, signed or witnessed. Using a solicitor reduces these risks and gives people reassurance that they will be protected if something does go wrong. By taking advantage of March Will Month, people aged over 55 years can have a professionally written will for free. To take part, simply call 01670 530 700 or visit www.qualitysolicitors.com/lawsonandthompson to book an appointment. *Applies to simple single or mirror wills only for people aged 55 and over. For more complex wills you will be charged our usual fee with the discount being applied to the final invoice. [1] Unbiased, ’31 million UK adults at risk of dying without a will’ (2 October 2017) https://business.unbiased.co.uk/press-releases/31-million-uk-adults-at-risk-of-dying-without-a-will-2-10-2017. [2] BBC News, ‘Making a will: Sharp rise for intestate queries’ (19 May 2016) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36325871.
  13. Bot

    Pedal power to raise funds for good cause

    An event in Bedlington next week is giving people the opportunity to push themselves physically and raise money for Age UK Northumberland at the same time.
  14. Northumberland County Council has agreed a budget to save £65m over the next four years while making ambitious plans for the future. Councillors approved efficiencies of £8.2m for the coming year, £21.1m in 2019-20, and rising to £65.1m over the term of the Medium Term Financial Plan 2018-2022. Council Leader Peter Jackson said: “We’re pleased to have agreed our budget which allows us to balance our books, and do the right thing for the people we serve. But the hard work starts now. “The next three years will be more challenging than ever, and may have a impact on the way we deliver services. “However, we’re bold and ambitious for the future, and by approving this budget we’ll be much better placed to help support a thriving local economy and deliver value for money for the communities we serve. To protect vital services and significant demand in services, the council has reluctantly decided to a Council Tax rise of 2.99%. While this rise in line with inflation, it equates to 85 pence per household per week for a Band D property. Coun Jackson added: ”We’re still very much ambitious for our future, and for the future for the people of Northumberland, and our capital programme of £588m is the biggest ever delivered in the county. “Over the coming years we pledge to continue investing in Northumberland’s future and making sure we get a fair deal for the whole county - one that works for everyone.”
  15. Bot

    Dam removal no longer an option

    Campaigners have spoken of their delight after it was announced that an option to remove a key structure at Humford Country Park in Bedlington is now off the table.
  16. David Ellis

    BTFC February fixtures

    To follow on from my previous post, a few home matches coming up. Nice bar, food kiosk an.d the legend that is "The Foal" Been far too long since a consistent 100+ crowd. Surely 100 isn't much to ask from a population of ~ 15000 in the town?
  17. Andy Millne

    Plans Approved for Hotel at Laird's House

    Plans for a boutique hotel at Lairds House on Front Street West were approved on Monday by the Local Planning Authority. The proposal is described as ; "Conversion of former social club and public house into a hotel, with restaurant and bar with external alterations including new conservation roof lights to front, steel gate and railings, and to the rear new dormer windows, rear extension to include office, lobby, dining area and kitchen with two storey off-shot for recreation room and cinema. Amended plans received 28th April 2017. " Leave your comments below. Full details of the planning application and decision are available at https://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OLOKOYQSMXQ00
  18. Bot

    Northumberland is blooming beautiful

    Green fingered Northumbrians have done the county proud yet again as they collected a string of awards after impressing judges in this year’s Northumbria in Bloom awards. Dozens of towns, villages and businesses showed off their floral displays, summer planting and well tended parks and gardens in the competition which has seen communities and council staff pull together to show off local neighbourhoods at their best. The county did exceptionally well in the Towns category with Morpeth winning overall Gold for the bright displays that have produced a blaze of colour right across the town. Alnwick won Gold, Bedlington won Silver and Berwick and Hexham were awarded Silver Gilt. In the Large Towns category, Blyth won Silver and Cramlington won Silver Gilt. In the Small Towns category Ponteland and Seaton Sluice won gold with Seaton Delaval achieving bronze. Seaton Delaval won the Most Improved entry for enthusiastically taking on a number of neglected areas for transformation and for the hard work and vision of the community. The county’s villages also scooped a number of fantastic awards against tough competition. Ord near Berwick won the Large Villages category. Judges found the village to be pristine throughout with residents taking a great pride in keeping their neighbourhood spotless as well as caring for the many tubs and planters. There were celebrations elsewhere as Holywell and New Hartley won Silver and Seghill won Bronze in the Large Villages category. East Hartford won Silver in the Small Villages category and Lesbury won Silver Gilt in the Villages category. The popular Ridley Park in Blyth was winner of the Best Park award for its beautifully landscaped public space. Young growers in the county also got involved and Tweedmouth West First School in Berwick scooped the Growing Together for Schools award. Other Gold winners included Alnmouth Railway Station ( best bus/metro/rail station) The parish hall garden, Corbridge ( best Grounds of a hospital, university or public building) Ord Country Park ( best commercial premises) Berwick Bowling Club ( best sports ground) Woodbine Terrace, Corbridge ( best residential community). A number of very worthy awards were made for outstanding voluntary contributions. Neville Rutherford of Corbridge for his inspiring leadership of Corbridge in Bloom; Kenneth Thompson from Morpeth for his commitment to the ‘In Bloom’ entry and George Anderson for his contribution to the betterment of Ord Village Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is wonderful that the hard work and efforts of a few have made the towns and villages where we live such attractive places. We really do appreciate their work and congratulate everyone involved. ”
  19. Northumberland County Council has welcomed the Government’s announcement today of the preferred routes for the A1 Morpeth to Felton and Alnwick to Ellingham dualling upgrade. Following further development of their proposals Highways England have now identified the Green route option for Morpeth to Felton, and the Orange route option between Alnwick and Ellingham. Following a six-week consultation last year, three options were presented to residents and regional stakeholders for plans to widen the A1 between Morpeth and Felton, and one option to widen the A1 between Alnwick and Ellingham. The council has long campaigned for dualling of the A1 north of Morpeth - recognising the significant economic and other benefits for the county and wider border and north east regions. The improvements will mean the creation of a dual carriageway on the entire stretch of the route between Newcastle and Ellingham - providing additional capacity and improving journey times and safety. Cllr Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council said: “This is fantastic news for Northumberland and will provide very significant strategic and economic benefits. “Dualling will promote sustainable growth along the A1 corridor as well as improved connectivity with Edinburgh and the Lothians and with Tyne and Wear and other regions to the south. “Existing businesses will have better access to markets for their goods and services, and to sources of labour, and the dualling will also encourage new businesses to become established - creating new jobs and economic growth. “This announcement is a further confirmation of the Government delivering on its promises in Northumberland.” Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services said: “We have been campaigning for dualling of this key strategic route for over two decades, and this announcement of preferred routes is the next important step to securing major improvements. “The ‘green’ route for Morpeth to Felton was strongly favoured by the council and so I am very pleased that this will be going forward. It addresses our concerns that the other routes would have had more impact on the A697 during construction. “The dualling is set to make significant improvements to road safety on the route, something I am also a very strong campaigner for, with the Green route between Morpeth and Felton offering the best alignment for improving safety. “We welcome the support of our MP who has worked so hard for this and look forward to working with Highways England as they progress this through the next steps.” Highways England project manager Nanette Hoyle said today: “We recognise the importance of this route and are delighted to announce the two options we are taking forward are the ones which the majority of people wanted in last year’s consultation. “Over the last few months we have worked hard to identify the best possible options by working through the feedback from the events, along with safety, economic and environmental analysis and we are excited to share our plans with local stakeholders, businesses and the community. “Work now continues, adding detail to the design for each of the dualling options and on planning how we will deliver them in a way that keeps traffic moving. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for taking part. There will be further opportunities to have your say as the schemes develop.” The green option between Morpeth and Felton includes building a new carriageway to the west of the existing road between Priest’s Bridge and Burgham Park. This option will improve safety along the route and will also have benefits during construction in terms worker safety and efficiency. The existing A1 will act as a local road once the scheme has been completed. The orange route between Alnwick and Ellingham involves upgrading the existing road to dual carriageway, widening either the east or west of the current road depending on the local features that need to be considered. This option also includes improvements at the South Charlton junction. Highways England will be holding further public consultation events in the area during 2018 - offering communities the opportunity to discuss in more detail the design of the preferred routes, discuss the planning application and the next steps with the project team. Further information will be released nearer the time. You can find out more about the A1 in Northumberland scheme at www.highways.gov.uk/A1inNorthumberland
  20. The likes of Mustang Sally and In the Midnight Hour are set to rock Bedlington on Saturday when the day-long Northumberland Live gets underway. The Commitments will be topping the bill at the music festival which is set to draw crowds to the town’s Gallagher Park. The eight-piece headliners - headed up by frontman Dave Finnegan who played bouncer and drummer Mickah Wallace in The Commitments film - will be setting the tone on the day with their instantly-recognisable soul classics - which also include Destination Anywhere - and all the hits from the famous movie. After last weekend’s wet weather put a dampener on Sunderland Airshow and Pride festival, it’s fingers crossed for the free family-friendly event. But optimistic promoters reckon that it will be a case of temperatures “in the 70s and music in the 80s” on Saturday as the play-list gets underway. Also on the programme will be the likes of the West End 80’s Mania show, featuring songs and dance from the age of synthesizers and leggings, plus UB40 tribute band Ultimate 40.
  21. The search is on for magical creatures living underneath Ashington. The Wonderfolk are rumoured to exist along the abandoned coal seams under Woodhorn Colliery. But now a team of experts are set to find the elusive beings and bring their stories to life. Anyone can join them on an interactive trail lasting all summer. Visitors will meet Professor Parkyr, a world expert in unexplained underground life forms, and with the help of a magical miner’s lamp will go on a special mission to track down and uncover the stories and secrets of the Wonderfolk. The search for Woodhorn’s alternative and magical past begins on Monday with the launch of an interactive tour.
  22. Bot

    Wimbledon joy for determined Des

    A Choppington man was served up with a Centre Court ticket for Wimbledon on Monday after waiting in line for 56 hours. To give himself the best possible chance of realising his top bucket-list dream, Des Robson packed up a tent and comfy chair and left his home at 6pm on Friday. He drew up the list after surviving two heart attacks two years ago. The computer technician arrived at the main gate of the All England club at 1.30pm on Saturday and he was rewarded with first place in the queue. This meant he was able to get a ticket for the showpiece court with the action on Monday including defending champion Sir Andy Murray beating Alexander Bublik in straight sets.
  23. Thousands turned out for the fourth Northumberland Live festival at Blyth at the weekend and quite a few left their litter behind them - much to the dismay of one little boy. Five-year-old Oliver Jackson, of Blyth , immediately set to work collecting the abandoned cans, chip trays and sweet and crisp packets you can see in his grandma’s photographs. Proud gran Alyson Young said: “On Saturday evening after the Blyth festival was finished and people were leaving, my grandson, Oliver Jackson, aged five, was watched and admired by many people as he started to clear up the filth and debris that other people had left. “He was so upset by the amount of litter and mess that adults had left lying in ‘his park’ that he took himself off and found a carrier bag and started to clean up. He said ‘It’s not acceptable to have all this rubbish - why have they done this to my park?’ “People looked on in awe of this little boy and started to give him money for his efforts. As if that wasn’t good enough - he then went on to say, ‘I think I’ll give this money to the poor children’ because they don’t have what he has. “He went and asked for a bag from an organiser and was picking up everything, including a four-pack of lager which had been left behind, and was dragging it along behind him.
  24. Bot

    Useful items for project

    The Matthew Project, based in Bedlington, has received a bundle of products from Asda Blyth that was donated to help those feeling financial strain. Items handed over included tinned goods, biscuits, crisps and toiletries such as toothpaste and toothbrushes. The project provides food parcels for individuals, families and homeless people in the Bedlington and Blyth areas following referral by organisations such as social services, Citizens Advice, Barnardo’s and Sure Start. Leadership group member Maureen Chilton said: “It is thanks to the kind donations of individuals, churches and supermarkets such as Asda Blyth that we are able to continue to provide our vital service and lend a helping hand to those in need.”
  25. Bot

    Celebrations for centenarian Hilda

    A woman who grew up in Bedlington and today lives in Australia recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Hilda Pearson, born on May 29, 1917, completed her schooling at about the age of 14 and left to do domestic work further south. This money was sent home to help the family – her parents were John and Abigail Worn and she had two sisters, Emma and Rachael, and two brothers, Stanley and Sidney. Her father was a coal miner.
  26. Bedlington Football Club

    Bedlington Town Vipers u10s Cup Winners!

    Congratulations to BEDLINGTON TOWN FC VIPERS u10s on winning the Filey Cup 2017. Our region was well represented in this national competition with teams from Cramlington Juniors and Ashington. Following on from their success in Filey 2016 it was Bedlington Town FC who once again lifted the main trophy. Congratulations to Bedlington player Luke who also picked up the prestigious Player of the Tournament award. Well done to all of the team.
  27. Outline Plans for the Bedlington town centre re-development have been registered with the planning department at Northumberland County Council. The application on behalf of Arch (Development Projects) Ltd is said to "bring forward a retail-led mixed use scheme, in order to regenerate this key site, enhance the existing range and choice of retail provision in Bedlington Town Centre and generate economic benefits for the local area" The application is accompanied by an illustrative masterplan and elevation drawings, as well as a Design Code, which sets out parameters in relation to the scale and type of development which could come forward on the different parts of the site. The scheme includes the following elements: A 1,716 sqm gross foodstore on the eastern part of the site. New family pub/restaurant, comprising 560 sqm gross, on the northern part of the site. A range of retail/commercial units on the western part of the site, ranging between 100 sqm and 1,500 gross in size (and totalling around 5,206 sqm), along with a health and fitness club (238 sqm gross) clustered around a pedestrian boulevard. 12 residential units, above the smaller retail/commercial units. Around 250 car parking spaces located across the site, in between the foodstore pub/restaurant and pedestrian boulevard A co-ordinated scheme of hard and soft landscaping. Whilst not included on the Illustrative Masterplan or the floorspace figures set out above, there is potential to include office accommodation as part of the development, above the new shop units which would be created. The description of development set out above includes Use Class B1 in order to allow for this. Application Summary 17/00444/OUT | Demolition of existing structures and erection of buildings in Class A1 (retail) and/or Class A2 (financial and professional services) and/or Class A3 (restaurants and cafes) and/or Class A4 (drinking establishments) and/or A5 (hot food takeaways) and/or Class C3 (dwellinghouses) and/or Class B1 (business) and/or Class D1 (non-residential institutions) and/or Class D2 (assembly and leisure) and/or betting office (Sui Generis) uses, with associated parking, landscaping and access (with all matters reserved). | Car Park Vulcan Place Bedlington Northumberland NE22 5DN Full plans can be viewed at https://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OL2FGUQSMP200
  28. UJAY

    Remembering Doctor Brown

    These three characters have all had a positive influence on this, their local community. Shown on the left, I remember Dr Brown with his pet Boxer dog. He was the perfect 'Gentle Man' who spoke to everyone,tipped his hat to all the ladies and spoke to their children. Unfortunately, in his later years, after losing his wife, he became a little confused. I was always amused to see his car parked at all angles along Bedlington Front Street. Everyone seemed to understand and did not mind. I once found him driving his little, light blue, Ford Fiesta, around the Plessey roundabout, the wrong way, hopelessly lost. I had to lead him back into Bedlington. I am pleased to have known him as he was of a generation when Doctors were only too glad to be available to their local community.
  29. Malcolm Robinson

    Bedlington in Bloom

    Made up of residents, Town Councillors, Leading Link and other community group members the group has been working to improve the aesthetics and visual impact of our Town's greener areas through various floral improvements. All have given up huge amounts of their time and it now looks like their efforts have been rewarded. In one of the "˜specific' award categories, Chester Court Care Home won Gold in the "Best kept grounds of a care, residential or convalescent home." Well done to all involved!
  30. NewsQueen

    Synergy Makes Expansion Easy

    Keith Fitzsimmons, the co-owner of Synergy, first approached Stelios in December 2010 shortly after the launch of easyGym, with a view to opening physiotherapy clinics at the easyGym sites as a complementary service. More than 18 months later the CEO of easyGym, Paul Lorimer-Wing confirmed that he wanted Synergy to be its Physiotherapy partner. Keith, who has so far invested £90,000 in the easyGym openings, said: "I launched Synergy in 1999 and opened the Bedlington clinic in 2002. Since then I have expanded the business, opening in Carlisle and in Gosforth, with a total of seven physiotherapists and two administration staff "“ so we are a successful business. But I saw this as a great opportunity. EasyGym has been a pleasure to work with and is eventually looking at opening 50 sites across the UK "“ so this is an extremely exciting time for us." Synergy is fitting out the clinics - which are a minimum of 160 sq ft and each employ at least of two physios "“ with top quality furniture and state of the art equipment. Keith has also invested in a bespoke online booking system, developed by Newcastle based web developer Jump, that allows real time booking, giving greater choice to patients and saving Synergy time in administration. He said: "The clinics at EasyGym sites are open seven days and longer hours than normal physio clinics are "“ from as early as 6.30am in some places "“ so therefore we needed a realtime booking system that enabled patients to make their appointments online, and pay for them at the same time. "We are also looking at expanding the services offered at all of the sites to incorporate sports nutritionists, podiatrists, and even sports doctors." Paul Lorimer-Wing from EasyGym said: "When Synergy approached us we saw a great opportunity to develop complementary services at EasyGym sites. Keith has done a great job in developing those services and opening well equipped clinics. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership." Synergy, which won the Rio Tinto Business of the Year award in 2008, has also recently been asked to provide physiotherapy services to the stars of the X Factor during some parts of their UK-wide tour, including the recent shows at the Newcastle arena.
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