Residents outraged by comments that their town is “a dump” are fighting for its reputation and have told the Chronicle why they’re filled with civic pride.
Jeff Reid, leader of Northumberland County Council and representative for the town’s Plessey ward provoked uproar when he criticised the seaside spot during a meeting.
To add insult to injury, he then told how he prefers to do his shopping in nearby Cramlington.
The Liberal Democrat has since apologised for his comment and has admitted his words had been a “mistake”.
But it’s too little too late for some residents who feel their town has a lot to offer.
Mandy Lyall, who works at the Quayside Cafe on Plessey Road, said: “We’ve got a lovely quay and beach.
“And a lovely park and great people.
“He should be positive, not putting people off.”
SUNNY days bring hundreds of people from across the region to Blyth’s beaches and it’s the perfect place for kids to play.
Mum of twin girls Tricia Armstrong, said: "The beach is great and I’ll always go for a walk around with the babies or to the harbour whether it’s the summer or the winter."
Friend Emma Gateshill said: "There’s a lot of really nice people living here too."
Dorothy Thompson, who works at Coastline Fish & Chips at South Beach, said that in the summer the cafe is heaving with customers and is an example of how successful businesses in Blyth can be. "That place has expanded three times and I’ve been with it since the beginning and it’s always busy," she said.
"It’s just annoying for people who’ve lived here for ages and can see the town is dying to be re-developed to have it knocked down again by the people who should be doing the opposite.
"If people keep putting it down then that’s the reputation Blyth will get. The cafe is living proof that businesses can flourish here if people put time and money into them.
BLYTH’S been good to market trader Ron Coleman for more than 30 years.
The 64-year-old stall holder takes up his spot four days a week and said he’ll continue into his 80s.
He said: "There are lovely people in Blyth. I’m not from here, but the town’s looked after me for 32 years and I’ve got no plans to go anywhere else." Second-hand stall holder Terence Wood, who’s helped out by his 12-year-old son Stanley, said: "Blyth is OK. There’s lovely chip shops and ice-cream parlours. It is hard for the market because there’s a lot of pound shops here." Young Stanley, who loves the town’s skate-park, said: "I think Blyth would be a better place if people looked after it more."
Alan Long, 64, of the Mobile Chef food van, said: "South Beach is the nicest area of town."
FLORIST Claire Hibbert believes Blyth needs some love and care from councillors to re-build its name.
"Ridley Park is lovely now it’s been refurbished, so it’s a disgrace to for Jeff Reid to make those comments. He’s supposed to be supporting Blyth and bringing people here," said the 37-year-old who works at Appleblossom on Regent Street.
Hazel Ross, 40, of neighbouring Dotties Deli loves the town for its people and nightlife.
She said: "Shops and market spaces are empty because rents and rates are high, but pubs and restaurants are a real draw."