THE sight of a bustling high street in Hexham is a welcome one, according to shoppers who returned to the high street this week.

Jennifer Cowie, a mother-of-two from Slaley, was among the many people out on Fore Street after non-essential shops were given the go-ahead to reopen

Jennifer brought along her children John (8) and Charlie (1) to get some shoes and other necessities.

“We’re enjoying it,” she said. “You don’t mind queuing to get into a shop because we all have to respect the current situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The shops have worked hard to put regulations in place in the interests of safety, and all credit to them.

“The town centre looks more normal again. It’s nice to see people out here, it is essential to the survival of the high street.”

The shopping experience in Hexham is different to how it was before everyday life changed in March.

Fast forward to mid-June, and some shops have put yellow markers outside, for customers to queue in accordance with the two-metre social distancing rule.

There are also restrictions on the number of people allowed inside each shop, which depends on the size of individual premises.

Hexham town centre received another boost this week, when Northumberland County Council outlined its commitment to the local economy. Currently disused sites, including the former bus station and Beales department store, were earmarked for retail opportunities.

A council spokeswoman said: “We continue to work with local partners in supporting improvements in Hexham, to aid the town’s future prosperity.

"We know these key sites are important for the town, and are working with partners with the aim of securing positive futures for them.”