The £40m planned regeneration of Blyth town centre could start next year, if a major funding bid is successful.

The "hugely ambitious" project would see Blyth Marketplace and Bridge Street revitalised, with new culture and leisure facilities in the heart of the town centre.

Developers want to also create a more 'green' town centre, whilst also capitalising on the town's reputation as a centre for the Energy and offshore wind industry by creating a new research and education Energy Institute.

However, Northumberland County Council - which has already earmarked £7m for the project over the next three years - is now being asked to more than double that amount.

If the Cabinet agrees, and the project successfully wins funding from the Future High Streets Fund (FSHF) this summer, work could commence next year.

Councillor Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member for economic development, said: “This is a hugely ambitious scheme which will transform Blyth town centre, which has been in decline for a number of years despite the growing success of the energy industry in the town.

“We want to attract more people to the town centre, whether that’s to live, work or visit. We need to encourage people to come and spend more time here by creating the buzz of a busy and thriving area.

“Like town centres across the country times have changed and we need to address a whole range of issues, from how buildings are used, to how people get around - with an increased focus on green travel including more cycling and walking opportunities.

“With plans for two stations close to Blyth on the new Northumberland Line and a new relief road in the pipeline, along with new employment opportunities anticipated through investment at the Port and the new Northumberland Energy Park, this is a fantastic opportunity to revitalise the town centre for generations to come.”

The plans include projects which focus on improving green space, cycling and walking improvements to better connect the town centre to the quayside and support an increase in physical activity whilst also ensuring the town is safe and welcoming to all users.

Blyth is currently one of 50 towns shortlisted to benefit from the Government’s £1 billion FHSF.

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Subject to cabinet approval a final submission to the fund will be made in July 2020.

A full business case for the scheme will be submitted to the government by the end of July and, subject to approval, would be delivered over three years from April 2021.

The town is also set to benefit from the national Town Fund with further details on this to be unveiled later in 2020.