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About Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone

Bishop Auckland's Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) has been created to improve the town's historic centre and bring it back to being a vibrant market town for both locals and visitors.

Historic England: Heritage Action Zone logoThe HAZ is an area of regeneration in Bishop Auckland's conservation area, that has been agreed by Historic England, who are providing funding.

We've agreed a delivery plan of economic, social and cultural regeneration. This includes approximately 50 projects across five years, from April 2018 to March 2023.

The project will look at:

  • buildings at risk
  • buildings that have suffered from retail decline
  • bringing buildings back into use through grant schemes
  • researching historic buildings
  • organising events and activities for schools and the local community

The Icon for pdf Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone map (PDF, 3.3mb) shows the area covered.

Contact us if  you want to receive email updates on the project, or if you are interested in volunteering opportunities such as talks or working with local schools.

The project explained

Icon for pdf Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone transcript (PDF, 77.3kb)

Find out more about the project from a BBC Radio Tees report:

Icon for pdf BBC Tees Heritage Action Zone transcript (PDF, 19.6kb)

Delivery Plan

The Heritage Action Zone has an agreed Delivery Plan that is reviewed each year. The plan was agreed in May 2018 and was produced following a series of discussions with local organisations, groups and individuals. The programme is set around a number of themes, and projects are aligned to the aims of the HAZ. Projects range from a large scale grant programme down to small community-led events. Projects include administration and project management, as well as practical building projects, surveys and research, skills training, and promotion, and engagement activity.

Download a summary of the plan and report on progress in year April 2018 to March 2019: Icon for pdf Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone Delivery Plan Summary 2018/19 (PDF, 1.3mb) .



Research helps to establish what is and is not significant about key buildings. It also helps to reduce/remove risk to buildings or sites by looking at future development options and possible re-use. The research may also assist in identifying listed buildings that need their description reviewing, or potentially new buildings that need listing. The research we're working on includes:

Historic Area Assessment (HAA)

We're planning to carry out an HAA to look at the character and importance of the area. This will provide an evidence base for future developments. Doing an HAA will also show where the past is found in today's landscape, explaining why it is as it is and highlighting its more significant elements.

Buildings research

We'll choose a number of buildings for in-depth research, analysis and interpretation, including their history and development of the structures internally and externally. From this we can gauge the significance of each building in terms of its contribution to the town centre character area and its immediate setting. These reports will be used to inform the future management and redevelopment. The first three buildings to be looked at are:

  • the Old Cooperative Building on Newgate
  • the Mechanics Institute on Victoria Avenue
  • 25 Newgate Street, The McIntyre Building

Economic study

We'll review regional and national reports to identify best practice for the regeneration of town centres. We will also produce detailed surveys of empty buildings to determine any outline repair/conversation costs and identify options for potential re-use and identify economic zones within the town centre. This study will be followed by a funding bid to introduce a grant scheme to conserve and re-use town centre buildings.

Improvement work

  • Work has been carried out along Newgate from the Market Place to Princess Street to remove concrete blocks, renew benches and street furniture to give the area a makeover.
  • We are repairing the temperance fountain on Gib Chare and developing a plan to enhance the surrounding area and provide information about the fountain and the old roadway leading up to the market place. This area will form part of a heritage walk around the town.

Schools and community work

We are working with the secondary schools and the college to get children involved with the town's history and heritage. We will also be organising a programme of events, working in partnership with other local organisations, including exhibitions, talks, workshops and festivals. 

Advisory group

Our advisory group includes representatives from Historic England, Durham County Council, Bishop Auckland Civic Society, Bishop Auckland Town Council, Bishop Auckland Town Team, The Auckland Project and The Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Partnership. We are working with the Brighter Bishop Auckland Regeneration Partnership to provide research, specialist support, public engagement and grant aid.

Completed projects

Below are some examples of projects that we have already completed.

  • Experience Bishop Auckland: this was a temporary exhibition of town images through the ages from large size reproductions of Victorian lithographs to photos from the County Records Office and the Historic England Archive. Pupils from secondary schools in the town enjoyed workshops in photography, creative writing and mixed media art.
  • Heritage Open Day tour: in 2018 we held a tour which told the history of the town through key buildings and looked at the programme of conservation and restoration that will transform and revitalise the town.
Historic England logo

In partnership with

  • Historic England
Contact us
Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone
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