Online guide to traders shows what town offers

Businesses have been invited to a preview of the new Morpeth Central website at NBSL-Newgate Street, Morpeth.
Businesses have been invited to a preview of the new Morpeth Central website at NBSL-Newgate Street, Morpeth.

A BUSINESS consultant is aiming to get more people into Morpeth through combining commerce with community.

Basic details for all the shops, stores, pubs, restaurants and services in the town centre are available on a new website, which is almost ready to go live.

And Dan Bond’s team has also put together a social diary with information about events of interest, from pub quizzes and bridge to Brownies and yoga – there are 350 for July alone.

Data relating to important facilities such as the library, GP surgeries, schools and markets, and the opportunity for firms to offer discounts, are among the other sections available on Morpeth Central.

Mr Bond, who is based in the Market Place after moving to the town from Ponteland a few years ago, said: “Community and commerce have got to sit together, otherwise a market town like Morpeth won’t be as successful as it can be.

“The website is all about increasing footfall and if people are going into the town centre for an event, most of the time they will bring their wallet or purse and spend money in a shop either before or afterwards. Sometimes it will be businesses themselves that put on an activity.

“I also have someone whose sole focus is working with schools, community organisations and parent groups to come up with events and raise further awareness among Morpeth residents about what they provide.

“I walked around all areas of Morpeth to make a list of the businesses in the town and I was surprised to find that excluding banks, accountants, cafes and restaurants, solicitors, hair and beauty salons, estate agents and travel agents, there are still 110 shops or outlets left where you can buy something over the counter.

“The idea behind the website is to have information about what is available in Morpeth all in one place and show people that they can generally get what they need on their doorstep without having to travel to Newcastle or the MetroCentre.”

Information about bus and rail services to the town is provided, as are details of places of interest for residents and visitors in Northumberland.

As well as helping to look after the website, Annaleise Brown is developing the social diary, and Claire Dyer is working with the community on events and projects.

Mrs Dyer said: “Morpeth needs a shove in the right direction to restore some of the community links that aren’t as strong as they were in the past. We’ve had a positive response from parents and groups so far and hopefully we can bring lots of people together with our events and activities.”

Mr Bond said that the website also includes information about businesses in surrounding towns and villages, but there are separate central and local sections so shops and stores cannot get away with saying they are from Morpeth when they are several miles away.

More information will soon be available at www.morpethcentral.co.uk