Bishop Auckland is to receive £19.9 million to improve its transport, hospitality and leisure offering while bringing vacant properties back to life.
Bishop Auckland has one of the longest high streets in the country but has been in a decline for some time. Currently around 22 per cent of the properties on Newgate street are vacant and this news is a welcome boost as older residents remember the flourishing high street once home to department stores like the famous Doggarts.
The announcement of an award of £19.9 million for investment into Bishop Auckland town centre follows a submission to the Future High Streets Fund.
Have your say
Members of the public can have their say on which projects should receive major investment to help with the ongoing regeneration of Bishop Auckland.
Earlier this year the town was selected to participate in the Stronger Towns Programme and make a bid for up to £25 million in Government funding in January 2021.
A Stronger Town Board was established which has been developing project proposals which it hopes will help to accelerate the regeneration of the town.
Now as part of a consultation the board wants to hear the views of residents on the projects before it makes the final decision on what is included in the bid.
The proposals build on the priorities established through the Bishop Auckland Masterplan process and the bid for funds made in June 2020 under the Future High Street Programme.
A vision is that Bishop Auckland will be “A World-class Heritage Visitor Destination of UK national importance; a 21st Century bustling market town and service centre for the whole of South West Durham and gateway to the Durham Dales”.
Several projects have been identified to continue the programme of change and investment in the town, aiming to improve facilities, create jobs and help residents access new opportunities.
Projects identified for investment by the board include:
Developing new road infrastructure to support Bishop Auckland’s development as a world class heritage destination;
- Creating new workspaces with associated enterprise support;
- Developing a Skills and Training Hub –providing a springboard into employment for residents;
- Creating a Durham Dales Gateway, through developing the Weardale Railway offer;
- Town centre diversification projects;
- Infrastructure improvements at Tindale Crescent to address current traffic flows;
- Establishing Bishop Auckland as a digital 5G enabled town;
- Improving heritage walking and cycling routes, signage, waymarking and interpretation;
- Securing a new heritage transport museum.
Residents can fill in a short survey and the deadline for contributing to the consultation is Monday 11th January 2021.
The Town Investment Plan will then be submitted to Government by the end of January 2021. Government will then consider the submission before deciding on whether to approve funding by the summer of 2021.
Visit the website for further information about Bishop Auckland Stronger Towns.
Click the link to download a PDF copy of the Bishop Auckland Masterplan.