Regeneration plans could boost energy sector jobs.
REGENERATION plans in a key economic development area for Northumberland are set to take another step forward with ambitious proposals for a job-creating office complex.
The multi-million pound project for Commissioners Quay - on the waterfront at the Port of Blyth - is aimed at further cementing the town's growing reputation as a centre of excellence for renewable energy and research.
It involves the construction of new, serviced office accommodation, referred to as Blyth Workspace, which will aim to attract businesses involved in the energy sector.
Later phases of the planned re-development of the five-acre Commissioners Quay site include the provision of new housing, as well as shopping and leisure facilities.
The project - which is being delivered by development company Arch - is looking to attract PS3m in European regional development funding and PS2.5m from the Government's Homes and Communities Agency.
It is hoped that work on the Blyth Workspace scheme will start later this year, to kickstart the wider re-development of the Commissioners Quay site and drive forward wider regeneration plans for the key River Blyth Estuary economic zone.
Local people will get the chance to examine the Blyth Workspace proposals for themselves when they go on display - on Thursday, April 18 at the Community Enterprise Centre in Ridley Street, from 3pm to 7pm.
Arch has appointed a specialist team led by award-winning Xsite Architecture to design the plans for the long-term vacant site, which is next to Blyth's acclaimed National Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC).
It is said to have major potential as an operation and maintenance centre for offshore wind developments or a research and development base supporting the renewable energy market.
The scheme is part of wider efforts, to be led by Arch over the next three years, to regenerate the Blyth Estuary Enterprise Zone, and the town centre.
Xsite Architecture is producing a masterplan for the Commissioners Quay site, of which the Blyth Workspace scheme will be the centrepiece and first phase development.
Yesterday Arch Group managing director, Peter McIntyre, said: "This is a flagship project for Arch, our partners and Blyth, designed to build on key business strengths of the sub-region and establish facilities which will attract and grow new jobs and high growth enterprises.
"The new workspace will be central to the wider regeneration of the quay. Our aim is to offer high-quality, serviced office accommodation to attract businesses in the energy sector, which will add an exciting new dimension to the site and wider development of the Blyth Estuary.
Blyth Harbour's Dun Cow Quay has also been earmarked as a site for future development as part of the Blyth Estuary Renewable Energy Zone.
Improvement work to the two quays was carried out in 2011, including the demolition of redundant buildings, to assist efforts to attract new investment and jobs.
PROPOSALS An artist's impression of the development