The first phase of work on a multi-million pound regeneration scheme which will involve the construction of hundreds of new homes in Blyth is under way.

More than 300 residential properties will be built on the site of the former Bates Colliery, in a joint venture between north east property firm Banks Developments and coal and property company UK COAL.

Funding for the remediation and infrastructure work on the 23-acre site has been secured by Banks and UK COAL from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the national housing and regeneration body.    

The Morpeth Road school, which is situated close to the site, is scheduled to be relocated to the Bates site as part of the ongoing Northumberland schools reorganisation, and the 4.5 acres of land that the school will occupy will be transferred by Banks and UK COAL to Northumberland County Council once remediation work is completed on it.

The former Bates Colliery site, which is owned by Banks and UK COAL has planning permission for up to 327 homes, consisting of a mix of predominantly family homes and apartments, and including a significant proportion of ‘affordable’ homes.

Michael Shuttleworth, Managing Director for Banks Property Ltd, part of Banks Developments, says: “We have been working very closely for many months with a number of regional partners around these proposals, including Northumberland County Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, and we are very excited to be finally getting under way.

“The major capital investment that is being made to revive this long-derelict location and create what will be a vibrant new community will have many long-term benefits for the town of Blyth.

“The principles of sustainable design are at the heart of this project - we are looking into utilising waste mine water to develop  a district-heating scheme for the site, and are also investigating the latest technology for the construction of sustainable homes on the site.

“Unlike many other companies, Banks and UK COAL, with the assistance of the HCA, are investing now to ensure that the site is ready for housebuilding when the expected upturn in the housing market is firmly established, and we firmly believe there will be great demand for the high-quality homes that will be built here.”

Eddie Peat, a Director of UK COAL's property arm, Harworth Estates, said: "The Bates Colliery scheme is one of several regeneration projects we are involved with in the North East, underpinning our commitment to the future well-being of the region."

Pat Ritchie, regional director at the Homes & Community Agency, said: “In the past coalfields were at the heart of our communities providing a sense of identity to the local people and surrounding area.

“We are working closely with public and private sector partners and engaging with local people to rejuvenate former coalfield communities in the North East, such as the Bates Colliery scheme.

“This development will bring 327 new homes to the Blyth area, along with the new, relocated Morpeth Road primary school providing a safe, sustainable community that local residents and their families will want to live in.”

Cllr Alan Armstrong, executive member of Northumberland County Council said:  “We are delighted that the remediation work on this site is underway, and that it is in line to deliver a new primary school as well as new housing, including affordable housing. 

“Negotiations have been ongoing for around three years, driven by the need for a new school, and it was this commitment to secure the school site, along with critical funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, that resulted in the land becoming available for housing too.

“The county council is also supporting bids for grant from the National Affordable Housing Programme for a flagship Extra Care scheme, together with bungalows and family homes.”

The contractor on the Thoroton & Croft scheme is Vertase FLi, and the main consultant is Entec Uk Ltd.
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For further press information, please contact Julian Christopher at Footprint Public Relations on 07891 005034 or via

UK Coal contact is Stuart Oliver on 01525 381759 or via


Notes to editors
The Banks Group was founded in 1976 in County Durham.  It now employs 350 people across offices in West Cornforth, Tow Law, Hamilton, Chorley and Chesterfield.  Banks Developments is the development arm of the Group. Its in-house development teams specialise in major projects in the renewable energy, property, mineral extraction and waste management sectors.

Banks Developments’ ‘Development With Care’ approach ensures sites are developed in close consultation with the community as well as carrying out extensive environmental assessments.

More information can be found at


  1. A mining, property and power company employing 3,100 people with its headquarters at Harworth Park, Harworth, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK COAL is Britain’s biggest producer of coal and the owner of around 43,500 acres of land and other property.  Its property arm, Harworth Estates, currently has plans to develop more than 80 sites covering a developable area of 3,680 acres, creating  opportunities for building around 27,000 homes and 30 million square feet of  business space over the next decade.