Wallsend town centre development taking shape

A new supermarket and fast food restaurant being built as part of the transformation of Wallsend’s town centre are starting to take shape.

North Tyneside Council is working with its partners to carry out the next phase of the multi-million pound regeneration programme, which continues to put the heart back into the town by creating an enhanced, vibrant shopping centre.

NewRiver Retail is behind the delivery of a new Aldi supermarket and drive-through Burger King restaurant. The schemes are expected to create more than 100 jobs when they open.

NewRiver Retail’s enabling works, which started in December 2015 to prepare the area, including car park, drainage and services, have been completed and Aldi’s build programme is now underway.

The council has helped shape and steer the project by assisting in putting the land together for redevelopment, co-ordinating the development process and engaging with local residents and businesses to deliver public benefits.

The anticipated opening for both Aldi and Burger King is September 2016 while the new J D Wetherspoon pub, formerly The Ritz Cinema, will also have a new external seating area created.

The site will also feature a large 214-space car park, available to town centre shoppers, which will provide two hours free parking.

NewRiver has also completed extensive refurbishment works on the Forum Shopping Centre, adjoining the Customer First Centre and library.

Since the opening of the Customer First Centre and new retail units in 2014, the shopping centre has seen a 25 per cent increase in footfall with around 3.1m visitors each year.

The recently-completed works include:

  •               Major roofing works
  •               Replacement of damaged glazing throughout the mall
  •               Full decoration of the mall itself
  •               Decoration of the lower car park and outside lighting
  •               All mall lights have been upgraded to LED standard
  •               Repairs to the Terrazzo flooring
  •               All outside signs have been replaced and decorated
  •               A new ‘John Street’ facade, including render work
  •               Renovation of the customer toilets
  •               New paving outside the customer toilets
  •               Decoration and installation of power points to the bandstand ready for it to be used for events
  •               Specialist cleaning of the paving on Station Road and installation of new seating
  •               Refurbishment works to the indoor market which is now being fitted out by the new market operators for 52 market traders

Emma Mackenzie, Director of NewRiver Retail, said: “It is enormously satisfying to hand over the sites to Aldi and Burger King in the most recent phase of our regeneration of Wallsend town centre.

“The long awaited reopening of the indoor market will be an additional attraction to the town and an incubator for flourishing entrepreneurs.

“Having our aspirations closely aligned with the council has allowed so much to be achieved to ensure a vibrant town centre for the future.”

Meanwhile, the town’s former police station and temporary housing centre in High Street East were recently demolished to make way for 41 new affordable homes.

Work is continuing to identify potential new sites across the borough where more affordable housing could be built, including sustainable brownfield locations such as Wallsend town centre.

And latest figures reveal that nearly 1.2m people visited the recently restored Wallsend Parks last year.

That’s a rise from 984,000 in 2011 before the major regeneration works, which include new play facilities, began.

Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “It is fantastic to see these latest developments taking shape – the new Aldi and Burger King will complement the recently refurbished shopping centre and make a huge contribution to an increasingly vibrant and attractive town centre.

“I’m delighted to see the progress being made in bringing the indoor market back too as the previous market always proved extremely popular. This is another positive step as the hard work to put the heart back into Wallsend continues.

“And it’s great that so many people are taking advantage of the excellent new facilities on offer in Wallsend Parks and I look forward to seeing the continued transformation of the town for everyone who lives, shops, works and visits.”