Hexham is being given a boost thanks to approved plans for a new 69-bed Travelodge hotel, a Lidl food store and a 250 space public car park.
Northumberland County Council has approved an application from Union Property, making way for the new development on land close to the town centre. Measuring approximately 5.5 acres, the site adjacent to Alemouth Road has been vacant for more than 25 years. Known locally as "the Bunker", as it was once home to a government run nuclear bunker in the 1980s, the successful application will breathe life back into the site.
The development will also see major investment in the existing highway infrastructure at the Alemouth Road and Station Road junction, including widening the road and creating a fourth arm off the roundabout to facilitate pedestrian and vehicle access.
Raj Sehgal, director of Union Property, said: “We are delighted to receive the go-ahead from Northumberland County Council. We have worked closely with planning officers to design a scheme which will reflect the character of Hexham and we are confident that it will be a positive addition to the town”.
Cllr Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism, and also a Hexham councillor, said: “The new hotel and car parking will provide much needed new facilities for visitors to the town, improving the tourism offer, raising the profile of Hexham and encouraging longer stays in the area.
“The new car parking in particular will give a huge boost to Hexham, supporting local services and businesses and alleviating pressure on parking in the town centre.
“The scheme will also mean improvements to the adjoining road and pedestrian networks.”
Cllr Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member for economic development at the council added: “This scheme represents a very significant economic investment in the town, as will bring a long-term vacant site back into use.
“This is one of a number of developments that are in progress in Hexham which will help to revitalise the town.”
The development is set to bring 60 new permanent jobs to the town and an estimated £2.16m visitor spend.
Work is due to begin early 2020.