Esh Construction’s commercial build division has secured a £10 million contract to transform the Hexham Bunker into a 69-bedroom Travelodge and Lidl retail outlet. Delivered on behalf of Union Property Development (Hexham) Ltd, the retail development will be based on land formerly used as a nuclear bunker and will also provide a new 250-space public car park for the town. The project will include significant works on the highways infrastructure which will improve access to the site and the safety of pedestrians.
The 5.5-acre site known as the ‘long-neglected bunker’ was purchased in October 2018 by Newcastle-based Union Property after being vacant for nearly 30 years. Plans to open a new Lidl store and Travelodge hotel were given the go ahead by Northumberland County Council in late 2019 and include outline consent for two further retail units.
Esh has been appointed as the design and build contractor to deliver the development, working in partnership with the design team – FaulknerBrowns Architects, Portland Consulting Engineers and kyoob. Gary Dobson, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for Hexham Bunker and to be working in partnership with Union Property. The scheme has been long in the making and is a great addition to Esh’s portfolio, with over £80m of projects currently underway within our commercial build division.”
Construction is set to commence in the coming weeks with infrastructure works on Alemouth Road and Station Road including the formation of a new roundabout with a main access road into the development site. The four-storey Travelodge and 2,177m2 Lidl food store will include customer parking and all associated external works, while the separate public car park will be used by Northumberland County Council as a second public town car park. The development is expected to create 60 new permanent jobs in the area and an estimated £2.16m visitor spending to Hexham.
Peter Carruthers, Consultant Project Director at Union Property, said: “We are delighted to receive the go-ahead from Northumberland County Council. We have worked closely with planning officers to design a scheme which will reflect the character of Hexham. This represents a very significant economic investment in the town and will bring a long-term vacant site back into use”.