The old workhouse site on Corbridge Road in Hexham which is currently up for sale as a development opportunity. *Photo: K031779
OFFICIALS at budget supermarket Lidl have confirmed they are eyeing up Hexham as a location for a brand new store.
The German discount chain, which already has over 600 stores across the UK, has made no secret of plans to invest £1.5bn in new sites by the end of 2018.
And it seems the old Hexham workhouse complex, on Corbridge Road, is firmly on its radar.
For members of Hexham Town Council have been consulted on a pre-planning application inquiry, lodged with Northumberland County Council by Lidl, which proposes demolition of the existing buildings and construction of a supermarket with customer parking.
Mayor of Hexham, Coun. Trevor Cessford, said details were scant, but councillors had made a formal request for a site visit with the developer.
Owned by the Helen McArdle Care (HMC) Group, the site closed as a workhouse in 1939, becoming the administration block of Hexham General Hospital on the founding of the National Health Service in 1948.
County councillor for Hexham East, Cath Homer, said it would be foolish to overlook an opportunity for investment in the town.
“I think it’s a great thing that a company of that size is interested in Hexham and in an area that has been neglected for too long.
“The new Co-op in the west of the town seems to have gone down very well, so why shouldn’t the residents in the east have access to something like this? I’m sure it would be well-used.”
However, she admitted the loss of the long-stay car parking spaces on the site was of concern.
“It’s my understanding that Northumberland County Council is currently looking at sites suitable for the proposed multi-storey for Hexham, so let’s get on with it, and that could be a real game changer.”
A spokesman for the HMC Group said the company had yet to be approached by Lidl and had no immediate plans for the site, which is currently on the market with Bradley Hall.