A RETAIL expert has said he is not "unduly concerned" about the future of Hexham high street.

It comes after the recent closures of Clintons, Iceland and Gaia.

Meanwhile, G Wallace Flooring store has recently opened, The Card Factory is set to open and Loungers has chosen Hexham to launch its first North East outlet.

Graham Soult, retail consultant of CannyInsights.com, said: "The high street in general across the country is in a more challenging place than it was.

"My sense is that yes it's unfortunate and it can be disconcerting when you lose national brands, but I think on the scale of things, Hexham has a reasonably healthy town centre and there are lots of signs of positive things happening like the HSHAZ as well and the buildings being improved on Priestpopple and Battle Hill.

"It's easy to forget that Hexham as well has a fantastic independent offer. 

"I always argue that it's easy to get hung up on the things that you've lost, but if you want things to improve, the best thing that you can do instead is focus on what you've already got and make sure you're supporting those."

Graham also called for the former Beales site and bus station to be redeveloped.

He added: "I think lots of towns like Hexham that are losing their national brands are becoming more interesting because of what's coming in their place is often individual or distinctive independent businesses.

"It's often quite hard to navigate that period of change but I think if you look forward five/10 years, a lot of high streets around the country are going to be more interesting because they aren't all going to be the same as each other."

"Hexham does have an awful lot going for it."

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “The old Hexham bus station is a key, historic building which is in private ownership with Dysart. 

“The county council is in regular discussion with Dysart about a new potential development option for the site and is working with them to explore a viable option for its future use. As soon as ideas are firmed up, there will be a public engagement exercise”