As well as a busy summer of events such as BRASS and Seaham Food Festival, bids totaling almost £100million have been submitted to the government to help improve transport, regeneration, town centers and culture in County Durham. Geoff Paul, Acting Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth at Durham County Council, explains how this could support the council’s ambitious upgrading goals.
The regeneration of towns and villages in County Durham and the pursuit of the best outcomes for our residents are of the utmost importance to the council.
Following the success of the first round of the Leveling Up Fund, we were able to secure £20m for Bishop Auckland and we are determined to build on this to unlock the potential of County Durham. That is why we recently submitted bids for the five remaining parliamentary constituencies in the county.
If successful, we will be able to deliver over £131m worth of programs in Durham City, Easington, North Durham, North West Durham and Sedgefield.
The funding will help us connect our communities, regenerate our city, town centers and villages, and enable all residents to engage with culture. It will also help us attract outside investment, ensuring that County Durham offers many opportunities for all who live, work and visit.
Each of the offers can include up to three projects and these must contribute to improving transport links, regenerating communities and town centers and improving access to culture.
Proposals include active travel measures to help improve connectivity and link places of employment, train stations, green spaces and residential areas; new cultural attractions, community centers, improved parks and event spaces to enhance the county’s cultural and wellness offerings, as well as brownfields used to facilitate social housing.
There are also proposals for a relief road at Bowburn to help address traffic capacity constraints and move forward the third phase of the Integra 61 programme, supporting employment opportunities, as well as repurposing and upgrading downtown buildings to encourage more visitors and support our high streets.
The results of the funding offers are expected to be announced later in the year in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
In the meantime, we will continue to expand the projects to ensure that we can start working on program delivery as soon as possible and support a thriving county in which our residents live long and independently.