Plans for Berwick's revival are discussed

Berwick has played host to a meeting of business, civic and educational leaders - where the development of a new set of proposals to boost the local economy was discussed.

Monday, 14th March 2016, 8:36 am
Updated Monday, 14th March 2016, 8:39 am

Prompted by the news of General Mills closure, Northumberland County Council invited representatives of the major organisations in town to discuss how business, trade and investment can be boosted.

The meeting included positive discussions about previous and current initiatives. There was recognition that for Berwick to be successful a common agenda is needed based on the economic strengths and wider reach of the town. Proposals can then be developed in collaboration with partners in the north eas and the Scottish Borders.

Initial proposals from the meeting will be developed. Further events and dialogue will start with a focus on ensuring Berwick’s unique historic and cultural heritage is at the heart of its future development.

Proposals discussed include establishing a better offer to businesses and visitors, and new skills and cultural facilities particularly to support young people in the town. Focus was also on the need to develop regionally significant infrastructure including full dualling of the A1 and assets including the new Enterprise Zone and other important cultural and commercial opportunities.

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Cllr Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth at Northumberland County Council said: “I’d like to thank everyone who attended this important meeting and spoke so positively about Berwick’s future.

“We are focused on working closely with partners locally and I hope that we can now develop this to provide a new basis to deliver jobs and development and improve Berwick’s prosperity as a major market town.”

Geoff Paul, director of planning and economy at Northumberland County Council added: “I was delighted with the enthusiasm from the local businesses, partner agencies and other stakeholders to work positively together to help drive sustainable economic growth to Berwick and its surrounding areas.

“There is still significant work to be done but with everyone pulling together in the same direction I’m sure we have every chance of success.”

Marcus Clinton, Principal of Northumberland College, said: “This was an excellent opportunity to identify how we can boost the town’s prospects and deliver major investments to underpin future success.

“It was good to see so many key influencers identifying common goals for future collaboration. I will look forward to developing this to deliver growth including a major focus on skills and young people’s future success, which the college are fully committed to.”