More than £117m of schemes with the potential to improve transport, regeneration, town centers and culture are being developed in County Durham under a ‘levelling’ scheme.
As part of the funding, Durham County Council is preparing tentative bids for the government’s leveling fund for five of its local parliamentary constituencies, following the previous success of its bid for Bishop Auckland.
The Council Cabinet is, on the back of £20m secured for the Bishop Auckland constituency last year, asked to support the submission of all five bids and the authority to contribute £21.4m in matching funding.
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The meeting on Wednesday, June 15 will hear how applications for the second round of the Leveling Fund can include up to three projects, with investments encouraged in three priority areas: transport; regeneration and town centres; and cultural.
A report to Cabinet sets out the structure of the five bids which, if successful, would result in a combined £117.4million investment in County Durham.
*These offers and projects are purely provisional at this stage.
Here are the projects that could transform County Durham under the £117million funding in each parliamentary constituency:
City of Durham
A backup road at Bowburn is proposed to address traffic capacity constraints to advance the third phase of the Integra 61 project.
The bid also includes active travel measures to improve downtown connectivity, linking new and existing cultural attractions; and stabilization works on the A690.
This constituency centers around Horden.
The three programs aim to make land available for social housing; provide new or improved community assets on brownfield sites, including a wooded plantation nature reserve and a new community building; and improving local streets to encourage the shift away from private car use.
North of Durham
The main part of the offer includes three projects centered on Stanley.
The first is the regeneration of Main Street – bringing downtown buildings back to life through the introduction of new managed workspaces, public spaces, improved well-being offered at the Louisa Center and the revitalization of the bus station.
The second is improving decongestion along the A693, including at Asda Roundabout and Oxhill Junction, also helping to improve journey times and punctuality on public transport.
The third proposes active travel measures to link North Durham Academy and High Street to residential areas and to better connect the city to the C2C cycle route.
North West Durham
Projects here incorporate projects in the towns of Willington, Crook and Tow Law.
The first envisions a series of improvements in the cities, including a new community center, improved parks, multi-use play areas (MUGA), event spaces, a BMX track and a skate park.
The second is to improve the infrastructure of the Low Willington industrial area to encourage further development there, targeted improvement of the town’s main streets, directional signs and the creation of public spaces.
The third project offers new and improved cycling and walking routes within and between the three settlements, as well as new electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support and encourage sustainable travel.
This part of County Durham includes the town of Newton Aycliffe.
The first project proposes to reallocate land and buildings within the town center to provide improved flexible amenity space, a public transport interchange, redevelopment of surface parking lots and improved commercial buildings.
The second program involves the improvement of active travel routes through the city linking places of employment, the city train station, green spaces, parks and residential areas.
The third project proposes to enrich the cultural and well-being offer of the city center and to offer a family cultural offer alongside the existing leisure and library services.
What happens now?
Cabinet will be asked to agree on a range of recommendations, including that £92m be offered to the Fund for the five programmes, and note that the authority has already pledged £11.4m in matching funding .
Councilors will be recommended to accept additional funding of £10-5m initially and a further £5m if all bids are successful.
What has the board said so far?
Cllr James Rowlandson, Cabinet Member of the Council for Resources, Investments and Assets, said: “We are really delighted to be on the verge of presenting interim financing offers which would result in more than £ 117 million in investments for communities across County Durham, on top of the £20 million we have already secured for Bishop Auckland constituency.
“We are also delighted to pledge over £21m from our resources. This is proof of our commitment to investing in the regeneration of our communities and investing money to attract external investment.
“The proposals we have developed would support transport connectivity, culture, heritage and the regeneration of our city, town centers and villages. They would respond to the socio-economic needs, transportation barriers and cultural ambitions of each constituency.
“Subject to Cabinet approval, we look forward to submitting these offers to the Government and look forward to successful outcomes so that we can implement these programs for the benefit of residents and communities.”
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