Business community raises investment concerns

MORPETH’S business community is also concerned at the flood project delay.

Chamber of Trade Chairman John Beynon said although the news is not unexpected, it is a blow to the town.

“It is not unexpected, but very disappointing,” he said.

“There were 1,000 properties in the town where the flood came in and it was devastating to residents and the business community.

“I hope this news won’t deter investment and Mark Dransfield is showing that there is still the determination there to invest with his food store, which is in the flood area, but the business community was devastated by the flood at the time.”

Mr Beynon added: “I think there was suspicion that this would happen, even though we had meetings with ministers straight after the flood and were told the money was there for a scheme.

“There was a possibility that it would be delayed or shelved, but it is very disappointing.”

Mr Dransfield, whose company Dransfield Properties re-developed Sanderson Arcade, has outline planning permission for a new supermarket in Low Stanners, with a detailed application expected to be submitted next month.

He said: “We need to fully understand the background to the decision that has been taken with regard to the flood protection works.

“We are very keen therefore to meet with all the stakeholders in Morpeth to discuss what the implications are and what can be done.

“As we outlined at our recent public consultation, our proposals for a supermarket on the Low Stanners site in Morpeth are not dependent on the upstream works, however as a stakeholder in the town ourselves we clearly share the concerns of the community about the delays to the alleviation scheme.”