TOWN CENTRE BOOST AS SENIOR OFFICERS and POLITICIANS VISIT HEXHAM TO ‘SCOUT’ POSSIBLE LOCATIONS FOR ‘CUSTOMER HUB’
‘We’re actively considering locations for council ‘customer hub’ and drawing up plans for new bus station and we’re promising the residents of Hexham that the ‘council is coming home’ – Grant Davey
Senior council officer and Labour politicians visited Hexham last week to ‘scout’ potential locations for a new service centre dubbed the ‘customer hub’ as a return of council services to Hexham came a step closer. They also set out to ‘revamp the town bus station’ as part of a comprehensive package to ‘regenerate’ the town.
Locations visited and assessed include Tynedale House and other ex-Tynedale Council buildings and it can be revealed that the council’s preferred option would be in or near to the Town Centre. The relocated services will mean a jobs boost of at least 50 jobs in the town centre and a pledge to ‘make it as easy as possible for local businesses to bid for council contracts.
The new bus station design is likely to include a Tourism Centre which will be digitally linked to the ‘customer hub’ and the council have begun discussions with a view to securing permissions to provide enhanced access for busses.
The estimated boost for local business is likely to top £10m and Labour group and Council Leader Grant Davey revealed that ‘while the county council had to make massive cuts to its budgets as a result of government cuts, his plans for ‘customer hubs’ towns across Northumberland are another promise delivered’.
‘We think the previous Liberal Democrat administration made a false economy when they ‘retreated to county hall’ and local communities like Hexham have paid a price. Not only did local businesses have to contend with a global recession but they were left to fend for themselves. That’s why Labour promised to return the ‘council to local communities’ and that’s why we’ve been looking at possible sites. We think this will mean that the council is more accessible and it will mean a multi-million pound boost to local businesses. It’s no secret that local residents would prefer to see the ‘customer hub’ located in the town centre and that’s exactly where we’re looking. We’ll be making further announcements over the next six weeks and I’m excited to say ‘the council’s finally coming home’.
The previous administration led by the Liberal Democrats closed a series of council facilities across Northumberland as part of a cuts agenda and council services in Hexham have disappeared over the past three years.
Note for Editor
• The county will be announcing in the next week that figures calculated by the ONS will show Northumberland as a county benefitted to the tune of £704m over the last year from Tourism. This means tourism is the county’s biggest business.
• The council will be announcing how it will build tourism activities and opportunities into its business model and how places like Hexham will be marketed through a ‘new deal for tourism’ in Northumberland.