THERE are fears that Haltwhistle could become a ghost town after a fourth shop announced its closure within the space of a month.

The news that WMH Farm Fresh Meats will leave the town at the end of October follows the closure of the Something Special gift shop and Atlas Technical Computer Services, which will continue to operate from a home address, and the announcement that the Streetwise pound shop will shut up shop once all its stock is sold off.

Local residents and businesses are concerned for the future of retail in the town, believing the closures will deter people from visiting the area.

Richard Skeet has owned Centre of Britain Electrix, in Westgate, for decades and admitted his business may take a hit as a result of the impending closures.

He said: “People would come from miles away for the pound shop and butchers, and then walk around the town at their own leisure and visit the other shops, so it’s not good news.

“It’s worrying because people might not visit Haltwhistle anymore so it will have a knock-on effect on local businesses.”

Ian Hutchinson, the town’s Northumberland County Councillor, said the closures were a real blow.

He said: “It’s very concerning there are so many shops closing and I fear Haltwhistle may be really dying. If we could get the A69 dualled, that could rejuvenate not just Haltwhistle, but the whole North-East, and it would help to get people attracted to the town and keep the shops going.”

WMH owner Tom Stephenson this week confirmed the impending closure of the shop on social media, but said the shop in Haydon Bridge would remain open.