Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sea Port Is Set Fair to Move out of Doldrums

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sea Port Is Set Fair to Move out of Doldrums

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Haggie

Times have been tough for Blyth in recent years, but things are looking up, says Knight Frank's Simon Haggie

Although the port of Blyth dates from the 12th Century, the modern town did not start to develop until the 18th Century when a quay was erected for shipping coal.

At this time there were also 14 saltpans producing more than 1,000 tons of salt each year. Shipbuilding and fishing were the major industries in addition to which Blyth was also the principal port for the import of paper from Scandinavia. The paper was mainly used for newsprint.

As a result, Blyth prospered in the 19th Century and early 20th Century and by 1930 had a population of more than 30,000.

But, like other parts of the North-East, Blyth has been seriously affected by the closure and running down of its once staple industries, notably coal mining, and the port no longer imports newsprint.

Efforts have been made to fill the economic vacuum and provide a more varied pattern of employment.

The development of a trading estate in the 1970s and a subsequent move to service industries have provided some success, and the building of many houses has made Blyth into an important residential area.

The Port of Blyth remains a major landowner and employer in the area, although a large part of its Wimbourne Quay was sold to the New and Renewable Energy Centre, which develops and tests wind and wave energy generation equipment.

One important recent industrial scheme is on the Blyth Riverside Business Park (formerly Kitty Brewster Industrial Estate), which has been developed by City & Northern.

This pounds 2.25m project is the first speculative factory space in Blyth for more than a decade and has been assisted with grant funding from regional development agency One NorthEast via the Northumberland Strategic Partnership and Senntri (South-East Northumberland and North Tyneside Regeneration initiative). …

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