Views of residents sought ahead of funding bid submission
Members of the public can have their say on which projects should receive major investment to help with the ongoing regeneration of a County Durham town.
Earlier this year Bishop Auckland 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 this year under the Future High Street Programme.
A vision agreed by the Town Deal Board 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.
Cllr Carl Marshall, our Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for Bishop Auckland to secure vital funds towards helping the town improve, not only for residents, but visitors too in what is a difficult period economically due to the impact of coronavirus.
"Please take the time to fill in the consultation survey and let the board know what you think is a priority for investment."
David Lane, chair of the Bishop Auckland Strong Town Board, said: "These are exciting times for Bishop Auckland. Investment and improvements are being made across the town by The Auckland Project, Kynren, and Durham County Council and other property owners, through the Stronger town Programme we want to enhance the regeneration plans and help create more jobs restoring Bishop Auckland to the thriving town it once was.
"I'd urge anyone interested to contribute to the consultation and provide their views as they will be of great importance in shaping our bid for funding."
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 which should take less than 10 minutes by going to the Bishop Auckland Town Stronger Towns website.
The deadline for contributing to the consultation is Monday 11 January 2021, with the Town Investment plan set to 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.
Further information about Bishop Auckland Stronger Towns is available on the organisation's website.