Scheme is back to square one

Merton Way shopping Centre at Ponteland.'REF 0207148577
Merton Way shopping Centre at Ponteland.'REF 0207148577

A £20million project to transform the centre of Ponteland is officially off the table.

MKP Ponteland unveiled its initial plans for Merton Way in February 2009, working to a Ponteland Community Partnership design brief, but progress has stalled in recent years.

The future of library was a major sticking point in its negotiations with Northumberland County Council and an agreement could not be reached.

And now the authority has decided to pull the plug. Its development company, Arch, will work with community representatives to try and create a new scheme.

Director at MKP Sunil Mehra said: “As a member of the Ponteland community myself, I’m very disappointed by this news.

“The regeneration scheme for Merton Way has already been through consultation with the local community. It was overwhelmingly decided that our scheme was the preferred option. We were given a commitment to develop our scheme and continued to work with Northumberland County Council, Ponteland Town Council and the Ponteland Community Partnership in good faith on that basis.

“The decision announced now by the county council to re-start the process using its own development company is surprising and contrary to the council’s commitment to enter a development agreement with us. Needless to say we are reviewing the situation and consulting our lawyers about it.”

The plans included the building of new retail units, office space and residential accommodation, improved car parking and an increase in green space and there would have been a ‘central hub’ to provide a focal point.