Gateshead Council has given the go ahead to plans for a giant new Morrisons store in Blaydon.
The plans will see big changes to the existing centre. The library, council offices and health centre will be demolished and rebuilt at no cost to the council. They will be rebuilt on the bank overlooking the car park, currently home to some trees and grassed area. There will also be a refurbishment of existing shops in the precinct.
There will also be a new petrol station built on the site of the old one next to the site.
Whilst the refurbishment of the town centre is welcome, the sheer scale of the new store has raised concerns - it will be of similar size to the giant Asda store at the Metrocentre.
Firstly, there are worries about whether there will be sufficient car parking.
Secondly, the impact on smaller shops such as those in Winlaton could be considerable. There needs to be a balanced approach and if one major development leads to another town centre being sucked dry, little overall has been gained.
A smaller Morrisons local Lib Dems feel would have been more appropriate.