BUSINESS OWNERS are celebrating the end of extensive roadworks and improvements to the town centre, as they look forward to welcoming tourists in the next few months.

For many residents of Hexham, watching the men in hi-vis jackets work on Battle Hill for over a year has been a long process—but now the end is in sight, as the pavement slabs have been put in and the road has been resurfaced, making the once dreary work site and heavy-traffic area look more inviting.

The improvement work was part of an over £3.5 m investment that has boosted the town centre through the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), delivered by Northumberland County Council in partnership with Historic England.

The work focused on the key corridors of Priestpopple, Cattle Market, and Battle Hill. The public realm scheme includes enhancing pedestrian safety and introducing new planters and trees to ‘green’ the area.

On-street parking has also been reconfigured to include an accessible parking bay, an electric vehicle charging point and wider bays.

A total of nine heritage buildings in the town centre have also been refurbished and revitalised with the help of building grants matched with private sector investment through the HSHAZ scheme. 

Gordon and Joanne Moore of The Natural Grocer Market & Social said: "We are grateful that the works which started July of last year are drawing to an imminent close.

"I think we speak for every business and resident of Hexham in saying we are really looking forward to the summer.

"There is a fabulous programme of events arranged by the council and others.

"We want to shout out as loudly as we can that Hexham is most certainly open for business and we are really looking forward to greeting visitors and tourists."

Shannon Currah of Saks Hexham agrees and adds: "“The road and path looks much better! It’s really made Cattle Market and Priestpopple look smart! We can’t wait for the flower beds the grow!"

Tim Graham, owner of Robson & Sons Butchers, hopes to regain the business he lost during the roadworks. 

He said: "I am happy it is finally ending, but I don't think it was needed.

"There could have been better things to spend the money on.

"The roadworks really affected the business. I was down by 30 per cent every week. Everyone avoided coming into the town because of the one-way system.

"I don't see how new paving will help tourism, but I am looking forward to seeing more people come to Hexham in the upcoming months for the summer."

As part of the final touches, residents will see road markings on the newly resurfaced road towards the end of the month.