Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

Future High Street Funding

This national programme, launched in December 2018, aims to support high streets and town centres throughout England, co-funding renovation and structural projects to adapt to changes and meet the expectations of communities now and in the future.

Funding in County Durham

This government programme includes a focus on consolidating existing shop space, the reuse of buildings, public transport improvements and encouraging appropriate housing developments.

We applied for funding for proposed works in Chester-le-Street, Bishop Auckland, Seaham and Spennymoor.

In December 2020 Bishop Auckland was awarded £19.9 million to deliver a programme of infrastructure and building alterations to bring property back into use.

Property Reuse Fund open for applications 

If you have an idea to bring an empty shop or building in Bishop Auckland town centre back into use, or to expand or convert unused floors into residential or office space you may be eligible for funding to help. 

To find out more or to apply for this fund please contact us for an application form and guidance notes. 

Aims of the Future High Streets Fund for Bishop Auckland

By 2024 (the end of the Future High Streets Funding period) the town could attract between 430,000 and 660,000 day visitors per year, a huge increase from the pre-2016 levels of 27,000 annually, and this is forecast to grow to 750,000 in subsequent years.

The programme has been designed to maximise the benefits of this unique opportunity for local people, turning around a decade of town centre decline. By carefully channelling and guiding visitors through the town centre, we hope to rebuild the number of town centre users, that has been lost over the years.

The programme will improve infrastructure and facilities around the town to deal with the expected increase in visitors and encourage repeat visits to maximise the benefits that a revitalised town centre can provide.

We aim to benefit from private investments around the town to tackle the problem of empty shops and encourage more leisure use of the empty space.

We also aim to remove the Conservation Area from Historic England's Heritage at Risk register. 

Improvements to transport links, parking and public spaces

We aim to deliver improvements in the town's transport, parking and public spaces will help  build on the opportunities being brought to the town through investment in its heritage (£150m has already been invested by The Auckland Project).

Planned improvements include:

  • increased car parking spaces in the town
  • attractive walking routes through the town centre to the heritage attractions from visitor parking, train and bus stations
  • redesigned bus station to provide a much-improved arrival point for existing and new users and make way for a new car park
  • road junction improvements to build traffic capacity for increased visitor numbers
  • demolition of existing buildings and the improvement of public spaces will connect new visitors to local businesses and the town's residents to their heritage

Building re-use

With a high level of empty shops in the town centre, the Fund will focus on changing the use of some of these buildings to visitor accommodation, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities. This will increase visitor spending from overnight stays and drive jobs for local residents.

Visitor experience and heritage

The town centre and Auckland Castle will be linked so the new visitor and heritage focussed activities of The Auckland Project will benefit the town centre, complementing existing investments (eg Auckland Tower and the Mining Art Gallery). Linking grant funding and private investment to change the use of empty space to add needed diversity to the town centre.

Economic benefits 

The programme will improve a visitors town centre experience by bringing a mix of businesses, tackling vacancies and other rundown, redundant properties. The diversification of high street businesses and the increased capacity for visitors, will help drive growth, helping protect the town's historic assets, securing private investment in the town and underpinning the future of the town centre.


New bus station

The existing bus station will be redesigned to improve services and allow space for a new car park.

New multi-storey car park 

A new 396 space car park will be build in the town centre.

New public spaces and walking routes 

We will make it easier and more enjoyable to get around the town on foot by making pavements even, adding seating, information panels and directional signs. The new walking routes will allow pleasant and quick walks between the town's key attractions, whilst also encouraging increased visitor spending on the town's high street.

Improved road junctions 

Road works at four junctions around Bishop Auckland will provide the capacity for the expected increase in visitor numbers.

Kingsway car park and new public square 

A new 70 space car park (on unused land) and new public square (created through demolition of empty shops) linking Kingsway to Newgate Street.  

Queens Head Hotel 

We will support the investment needed to renovate the hotel and provide 30 bedrooms. This will address the key challenges of insufficient accommodation, heritage at risk and empty properties.

Newgate Street food and drink outlets (9-11 Newgate Street) 

We will redevelop the space previously occupied by WH Smith and Mothercare to provide new food and drink outlets to improve what's available to town centre users.

Newgate Street business workspace 

We will buy and redevelop four shops to provide a flexible workspace for small and medium sized businesses in the town centre.

Contact us
Future High Streets Fund