A BUSINESSMAN has revealed plans to invest £150,000 in a bid to improve services in a North Tyne village.

David Haley, who owns the Black Bull Hotel and Grey Bull Inn, hopes to create a new mini mart shop in Wark.

Mr Haley said: “We have identified a need within our community to create a mini market to be used by the village itself and the immediate surrounding area.”

The new shop would occupy the derelict garage forecourt and shop on Main Street.

As part of the proposal, the existing public toilets in the village, located behind the post office, would be demolished before increasing the size of the existing garage shop by integrating the existing toilet area and extending the front of the shop. The current Post Office and butcher will be unaffected by the plans.

A questionnaire was sent out to 120 Wark residents asking for their views on the plan.

Mr Haley said: “We were extremely surprised at the results returned. Every questionnaire was 100 per cent in favour of the idea.

“We additionally engaged other residents in conversation on the idea and offered co operation with the existing businesses within the village.

“The existing Post Office and butcher offer a commendable service, but they are limited as to stocking lines and both close at 5pm.

“We have nowhere to obtain urgent items after 5pm on weekdays and 12pm on Sundays.”

The new shop proposes opening until eight or 9pm as well as providing a local delivery service. Up to four jobs are expected to be created by the venture.

Mr Haley added: “The local plan for our area encourages expansion to serve not only the local population, but visitors to our beautiful village. We envisage a substantial investment of £150,000 in this venture and have used consultants with expertise in this area of activity.

“It is our intention to improve the overall offerings in our community to prevent the village being devoid of services we all need.

“We must all take responsibility for the future of our villages or they will slowly die, with ramifications on our school, churches and community organisations.”

A planning application will be submitted to Northumberland County Council planners in due course.