Council has £1.1m plan for eyesore

Kwik Save in Berwick.

Kwik Save in Berwick.

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The redevelopment of the former Kwik Save site in Berwick has been identified as a major goal for the next 12 months.

Funding of £1.1 million for the acquisition of the Walkergate site has been set aside in Northumberland County Council’s draft capital budget for 2014/15.

Arch, the council’s arms-length development company, has plans to turn the one-time supermarket into offices, possibly for council staff if they are relocated from their ramshackle current base at Wallace Green.

A council spokesman said: “The Kwik Save site in Walkergate is identified in Arch’s Berwick Plan as an office development opportunity.

“Arch has commissioned Ryder architects to prepare a scheme and is actively exploring possible future uses for the site.

“The county council’s £1.1 million contribution would enable Arch to acquire the site from the Homes and Communities Agency.”

Kwik Save closed in 2007 and was purchased by regional development agency One North East but when it was disbanded in 2011 the site was handed over to the Homes and Communities Agency.

As it fell into disrepair, there were calls to demolish the building to make way for parking or to turn it into a further education or training centre.

However, Arch made it one of three main goals to provide some tangible improvements to Berwick town centre.

Another is the repair and redevelopment of the former William Cowe buildings on Bridge Street to which £3 million is earmarked over the next three years. Much of this comes through the lotterybacked Townscape Heritage Initiative but includes a contribution of nearly £500,000 from the council.

Consultants Southern Green have also been engaged to focus on possible improvements to Marygate.

Plans to create a dedicated coach park in the Chapel Street area of Berwick also form part of the council’s outline capital investment plan. The council has provisionally set aside £75,000 as its contribution to a project estimated to cost £255,500.

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