Aerial shot of Bishop Auckland.
Jane Imrie

County Durham town to become “world-class destination” with multi-million pound boost

A County Durham town may be set to benefit from multi-million pound investment to revitalise its tourism industry.

Durham County Council is applying for a bid of £46.8m to provide an economic boost to Bishop Auckland by transforming the town into a national tourist destination.

The news comes after Bishop Auckland was selected by the government last year to be part of the Stronger Towns Programme. As part of the bid, the Stronger Towns Board hopes to develop Bishop Auckland into a “world-class” heritage visitor location.

The project will deliver improvements to heritage walking and cycling routes, developments to the Weardale Railway, the creation of a new heritage transport museum as well as new supporting road infrastructure.

In addition, plans have been proposed for new workspaces with associated enterprise support, a skills and training hub, town centre diversification and the establishment of Bishop Auckland as a 5G-enabled town.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, commented: “We are committed to delivering on residents’ and businesses’ aspirations for thriving and sustainable town centres and villages across the county.

“This programme will increase visitors to Bishop Auckland as it becomes a world-class heritage destination, encouraging longer stays and higher levels of spend, which will boost our entire visitor economy, meaning the benefits of this project will be felt beyond the town and into all parts of the county.

“These projects will promote change, attract investment, improve facilities, create jobs and access new opportunities, enabling a skilled and healthy population with all residents contributing to and benefiting from the continued growth.”

David Land, chair of Bishop Auckland Stronger Town Board, added: “The Stronger Towns Fund has provided us with the opportunity to secure further investment, aimed at providing new opportunities, jobs and training for local residents.

“We’ve developed a clear vision for the town so that we can restore the fortunes of the town and provide benefits across County Durham and the wider North East region.

“We trust our aspirations will now be matched through the Stronger Town Funding, demonstrating government support to the town and the wider Durham County.”

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