A BUSINESSMAN who has rescued the only pub in Cambois near Blyth is backing multi-million-pound plans to regenerate the former mining community.
John Charlton – son of North East football legend and World Cup winner Jack – reopened the former Buccaneer pub last summer, after it had stood empty for more than two years.
Now he is supporting ambitious plans by developer the Banks Group to build more than 300 eco-friendly houses and provide community facilities on a former industrial site in the village.
A support petition at the pub already has more than 100 names on it.
John, 52, who has previously run pubs in Australia and Dublin, invested £400,000 in reopening and refurbishing the Cambois venue, which his Ashington-born father frequented decades ago.
He believes the Banks Group development plans will be a major boost for the renaissance of a community struggling with the legacy of coal mining and heavy industry.
The scheme aims to create a sustainable community of 323 new homes built on the site of the former Vald Birn iron foundry.
Retail, leisure and medical amenities are also included in the proposals, which are due to go before county council planners this year.
John, who lives in Ponteland with his wife Deirdre and their two young children, said the proposals represented a great opportunity for the area. “The old power station and the Vald Birn factory have gone now and the only way Cambois can go from here is up,” he said.
“It is like a blank sheet of paper. We have people wanting to build houses here and also the Banks development scheme.
“Obviously, it would be good for my business, but I do believe that if Banks are allowed to build these houses, this will become one of the most desirable places to live in the North East.”
A door-to-door survey in the village by Banks last year found that more than 75% of people favoured the development.
Renewable energy sources would be used to power the development, which would also have its own combined heat and power facility.
Justin Hancock, senior planner at Banks Property, said: “The scheme we’ve put forward contains both a clear vision for the revitalisation of the Cambois community and a firm commitment to see the work through.
“John’s backing for our plans is extremely welcome.”