A multi-million-pound regeneration of Hexham and its former bus station has been welcomed by the town's MP.

Guy Opperman said Northumberland County Council has allocated £5 million to be spent on overhauling the town centre and station site – a prominent town centre building on Priestpopple which he claimed residents were keen to see 'transformed'.

Mr Opperman said:"Northumberland County Council have £5 million allocated in their capital programme for the regeneration of Hexham town centre, including the bus station site.

"This is in addition to the £2.4 million Heritage Action Zone funding already secured from the Conservative government.

"This is really good for Hexham.

"Local residents have told me time and time again that they want to see the site transformed.

"Key to that will be the current site owners and we need them to sell or develop the land as soon as possible so we can work together to sort it out once and for all.”

The investment news was brought to the public eye as a letter from Mr Opperman was posted to Hexham residents which included a reference to the funding.

While Mr Opperman said the cash had been allocated, he did not reveal where the money had been secured from, or what potential plans to redevelop the town centre or former bus station could involve.

Hexham mayor Councillor Derek Kennedy said he looked forward to Hexham Town Council getting the chance to put forward ideas to the county council for how the site could be repurposed.

He said: "Let's hope we get an exciting venture such as affordable housing, a business arcade for small enterprises to set up and prosper, electric vehicle charging and a link to join the town centre with M&S."

The station has previously been labelled a 'bomb site' and a 'blight on the town' by residents, and last year was put on the market for £1.5 million.

Dysart Developments announced plans in 2016 to create 2,466 square metres of commercial space, as well as an underground car park, 31 apartments and five affordable homes, as well as a much-needed pedestrian route through to the home of Marks & Spencer and B&M stores on Maidens Walk.

That vision for the site failed to be realised.

In 2018, the Courant reported Northumberland County Council wanted to create housing for the elderly, retail units and parking as part of a regeneration.

But a Northumberland County Council spokeswoman later said the authority failed to agree terms with the owners of the site.

Hexham Courant approached the county council for comment about the latest developments but a response did not come in time.