• Durham OnAir

Levelling Up bids submitted to government


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, Easington, 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 Easington, 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.