Bids totalling almost £100 million have been submitted to government to help enhance transport, regeneration, town centres and culture across County Durham.
Durham County Council has submitted the bids to the Levelling Up Fund for five of its parliamentary constituencies. It follows its success in the first round of funding bids, which saw £20 million secured for Bishop Auckland.
If the council is successful, it would see more than £131 million worth of schemes delivered in City of Durham, Horden, North Durham, North West Durham and Sedgefield, that will help to improve transport links, regenerate communities and town centres, and improve access to cultural opportunities.
Following approval from Cabinet in June this year, the bids, which can each feature up to three projects, have been refined to reflect rising costs and fuel prices and support local priorities across the county.
The authority has pledged more than £12.4 million in match funding and a further £10 million will be required through its Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP).
Cllr James Rowlandson, Cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, said: “We are delighted to have submitted our five funding bids this week. We are committed to regenerating our communities and seeking the very best outcomes for our residents and this funding will support these ambitious aims.
“Having already secured £20 million for our Bishop Auckland constituency, we are really excited at the prospect of delivering schemes worth a further £131 million across the rest of the county.
“The proposals will help to connect communities, regenerate our city, town centres and villages and enable all residents to engage in culture. It will also help us to attract external investment, ensuring that we have a thriving county. We hope to be successful when the bids are announced this autumn.”
The projects proposed for City of Durham include a relief road at Bowburn to help tackle traffic capacity constraints and bring forward the third phase of the Integra 61 scheme. The bid would also see stabilisation works on the A690 and active travel measures introduced in the city centre to improve connectivity and link new and existing cultural attractions.
In East Durham, the bid is focused on the regeneration of Horden. It is proposed that brownfield land will be used to facilitate social housing and deliver new or enhanced community assets, including a nature reserve and woodland plantation. Streets will also be improved to encourage people to move away from private car use and travel more sustainably.
The North Durham bid centres on the regeneration of Stanley, bringing buildings back to life within the town centre and improving public transport in the town. There are also plans to improve traffic flow along the A693, including at the Asda roundabout and Oxhill junction, allowing for improved public transport journey times and punctuality. The final bid will see the town better connected to the Coast 2 Coast route, promoting the town as a stop off point and helping people to travel in a more active way.
Three projects for North West Durham will incorporate schemes across the towns of Willington, Crook and Tow Law. The first envisages a range of improvements across the
towns including a new community hub, improved parks, Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs), event spaces, and a BMX track and skate park. The other projects will see better infrastructure at Low Willington Industrial Estate to support development there. New and upgraded cycling and walking routes will also be developed between Crook and Willington, and new EV charging points will be installed in key locations across all three towns to encourage sustainable travel.
Finally, the bid for the Sedgefield constituency covers the town of Newton Aycliffe. It will see land and buildings in the town centre repurposed to provide improved flexible space, a public transport interchange and reprovision of surface level car parking. Active travel routes across the town will be enhanced, linking employment locations, rail stations, green spaces, parks and residential areas. And, new cultural attractions will be offered alongside the existing leisure and library services to improve the town’s cultural and wellbeing offer.
The outcomes of the funding bids are expected to be announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, with the council continuing to develop projects to ensure programmes can be delivered if the bids are successful.