Some said it would never happen.

But as we near the end of this strangest of years, the long-awaited and sometimes controversial Prudhoe retail park, known as Tyneview,has opened.

In the past, there was resistance to the idea of supermarkets and other large chains coming to the town – in 1995, the Courant reported that an application to build a supermarket on the edge of Prudhoe was turned down, much to the relief of councillors and traders in the town.

But there has been a growing sense that it is something the town needs, as more and more people travel to the likes of Hexham, Blaydon, and Gateshead to do their weekly shopping.

The mayor of Prudhoe, Tracy Gilmore, is delighted that the plans are finally about to come to fruition.

She said: “Having lived in Prudhoe all my life, I think this is long overdue. The people of Prudhoe have needed this for a long, long time.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone who is against it.

“This is going to make the lives of people living in Prudhoe more fulfilling.

“Every Sunday I go to the shops in Hexham after walking my dog and it’s the whole day gone. I can’t wait for it to be done so I can just pop down and still have the whole of Sunday. It’s going to be incredible.

“The shops are so smart, it’s a beautiful development.

“It’s also creating jobs for people in town."

However, there is some concern among the traders of Front Street – but both Prudhoe Town Council and Northumberland County Council are committed to supporting them.

Coun. Gilmore continued: “The Front Street traders are mixed, but it’s no different to what people are doing now.

“I personally can’t see any difference other than they’re doing their shopping at Low Prudhoe rather than in Hexham.

“My argument has always been that people leave to go to Hexham or Blaydon to do their weekly shopping.

“They do all their bits and pieces in Prudhoe, but this way they stay here.”

Coun. Gordon Stewart, who represents Prudhoe South on Northumberland County Council, outlined some of the extra support for the traders.

He said: “I’m conscious people may feel as though trade has been taken away from Front Street.

“We’re supporting the traders in a lot of ways. The Front Street was resurfaced, the car parking has been improved and we’re working to improve signage for those car parks.

“We’re also promoting the traders on social media.

“In reality, the traders are doing exceptionally well. I think it’s because it’s one street you can walk along. It’s not like Hexham, where all the shops are down back streets.

“We have the banks and the post office which you don’t have in every town, and it’s a friendly atmosphere.”

Tyneview retail park will bring some of the biggest names in retail to Prudhoe, including Aldi, B&M Bargains, Greggs, and the Tyne Valley’s first McDonald’s restaurant.

Cafe Ginevra, the popular Front Street cafe, has also found a second home there.

Coun. Stewart shares Coun. Gilmore’s view that there will only be benefits.

He continued: “It’s creating local jobs, which is fantastic in these times. It will save people travelling in their own time which will also help the environment.

“It’s something which the vast majority of the public have wanted for many years, if not decades, and it’s in an ideal location. It’s also the shops people have asked for.”