A Regeneration review across Durham has revealed the impressive progress made across six of the county’s largest communities.

Instigated by Labour-run Durham County Council, an initial review of six masterplan documents – regeneration blueprints – demonstrates the amount of development, growth and evolution that has been secured, in spite of some of the most severe cuts to public spending in generations.

Consett, Crook, Newton Aycliffe, Durham City, Chester-le-Street and Stanley have all been appraised in the initial review, with updates for Peterlee, Seaham, Spennymoor, Shildon, Barnard Castle and Bishop Auckland to follow in early 2017.

In the coming weeks, the review will detail the major successes of each masterplan driving positive change for people and businesses in County Durham.

Durham County Council leader, Simon Henig, said: “By maintaining a keen focus on each major town across County Durham, we are aiming to stimulate considerable activity and investment across the county, with more planned.

“Hopefully these reviews will also provide the opportunity for further comment by those who live and work in County Durham on future proposals.”

The Masterplan updates profile each location, reflecting on their importance within the county. They also provide an overview of what has been delivered in each town and highlights further work to be delivered in the future.

The Masterplans focus on a range of activities, including town centre improvements, highways infrastructure enhancements, education facilities, health and social wellbeing provision. They also identify the development of new businesses, housing development and new community facilities.

Simon added: “We are also recognising the vital role partners and stakeholders, across the public and private sector, have played in securing real change.

“These masterplans are roadmaps for for future activities identified by local people. The priorities in each area have been identified as having the most potential to improve quality of life, environment, employment or simply are desired by the residents of each area.”

The masterplan update highlights include:

  • Supporting Hitachi Rail Europe’s creation of an £82m manufacturing plant at Newton Aycliffe and starting work on the neighbouring Forrest Park site to bring more jobs to County Durham. Newton Aycliffe Business Park has now grown to become the largest in the North East.
  • Supporting relocation of the Passport Office and NS&I to Freeman’s Reach in Durham City, retaining hundreds of jobs while freeing up the site of Millburngate House for redevelopment along with the Gates, bringing more shops, cinemas and restaurants into Durham.
  • Improving the A1(M) junction at Chester-le-Street as well as Drum Industrial Estate roundabout, and Northlands roundabout. Each has boosted the traffic flow, reduced congestion and cut air pollution.
  • Investment in Stanley, focussed on businesses, targeted derelict and underused premises, new business enterprise and investment. Over £143,000 was invested, generating around £246,000 in investment, supporting 23 business units and bringing others back into use. Future regeneration plans include proposals for a new supermarket.
  • Investment to enhance town centres in Consett and Crook.

Cabinet member for Economic Development Cllr Neil Foster said: “The intention of masterplans for our larger towns is to ensure we have a way of communicating our ambition and commitment to delivering local priorities.

“It has been pleasing to see fresh investment arrive as a result of ongoing work and the joined-up approach which breeds confidence in businesses investing in our county.”