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New Heritage Action Zones announced

Published December 05, 2017 4.08pm

Bishop Auckland and the Stockton and Darlington Railway have been chosen as two of the country's new Heritage Action Zones, it has been announced today.

Heritage Action Zones

Bishop Auckland Market Place

In Bishop Auckland, work will get underway to bring neglected buildings back into use to help rejuvenate the town centre and support its wider regeneration.

For the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the aim is to refurbish heritage features, like bridges and old railway buildings, along the 26 mile route in order to attract new visitors and boost the local economy for the railway's bicentenary in 2025. 

Heritage Action Zones first came into being earlier this year - the nationwide scheme supports local authorities to unlock untapped potential in places that are rich in history and historic fabric to help them thrive, and improve quality of life for communities and businesses.

Partnership projects

The Bishop Auckland project will be led by The Brighter Bishop Auckland Regeneration Partnership, bringing together key leaders from the council, The Auckland Project, Eleven Arches, Bishop Auckland College, South Durham Enterprise Agency, Durham University and Historic England. 

The Stockton and Darlington Railway project will be led by a partnership including: ourselves, Darlington Borough Council, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Friends of Stockton Darlington Railway and Historic England.

The detailed plans for both Heritage Action Zones will be worked up by spring 2018, and will include details of any grant-funding to be provided by Historic England.

Heritage Minister John Glen said: "Our heritage not only tells the story of our past, it creates great places to live, work and visit. The Heritage Action Zone scheme will make the most out of the Stockton and Darlington Railway project and Bishop Auckland's historic environment to kick-start regeneration, increase tourism and boost investment."

Character and heritage

Cllr Carl Marshall, our Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: "We're delighted that Bishop Auckland has been chosen by Historic England as one of the country's new Heritage Action Zones. We are keen to ensure that the town's character and heritage will fully benefit the area for current and future generations alike. It's also great news that the Stockton and Darlington Railway is set to benefit from a Heritage Action Zone as well. We're very much looking forward to working with our partners on these projects."

This is the second wave of Heritage Action Zones to be announced by Historic England. The first wave was announced in March 2017.

Carol Pyrah, Planning Director for Historic England in the North East, said: "The Stockton and Darlington Railway and Bishop Auckland both have much to be proud about - from links to the Prince Bishops to world class railway heritage. Some of their historic sites and buildings are showing signs of neglect but with a little investment and imagination they can become assets to enjoy and benefit from again. We are looking forward to working with local partners to increase awareness of what these places have to offer."

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