Work started this week on a new £7 million retail development in Morpeth, which will transform a key site in the town centre and create 100 new jobs.
The scheme will see the former Morrisons store undergo a major redevelopment to create three new retail units for Next, Pets at Home and Home Bargains.
It is being developed by Dransfield Properties Ltd and is due to open next summer.
North East construction company Tolent, which also built the new Morrisons store which opened in Morpeth two years ago, has been awarded the contract for the new development.
The plans will also see improvements to the layout and location of the disabled and parent parking spaces, as well as the creation of a new glazed canopy along the car park’s central walkway.
The SA Taxis office is being relocated to a new purpose-built pod in the car park and Morpeth Larder is being extended and remodelled with more internal space and a new alfresco dining area.
Mark Dransfield, managing director of Dransfield Properties, said: “It really is testament to Morpeth as a thriving North East retail destination that we have three great high street names keen to invest in the town and creating jobs and opportunities.
“Since the Morrisons store relocated, we know there has been a real aspiration in the town to see a new development on the site and we are delighted to be starting work this week on our new project for Morpeth.
“As well as bringing a new retail line up the development also means two of our great local companies, the Morpeth Larder and SA Taxis, can improve and expand.”
Coun Kath Nisbet, civic head of Northumberland County Council said: “This new development is more good news for Morpeth and Northumberland.
“The 100 new jobs will provide an employment boost for the area and it is great to see national chains like these wishing to invest in Northumberland.”
Dransfield Properties will own and manage the new development.
The architecture has been designed to complement the neighbouring buildings of both the Arcade and the new Morrisons store with the same architectural design team working on the proposals.