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Help us build a better Bishop Auckland for everyone

We want to hear from residents, business owners and visitors to Bishop Auckland on seven proposed projects which will help build a better Bishop Auckland for everyone.


Bishop Auckland has secured over £50 million of government funding which will support a number of projects to develop and build a better Bishop Auckland for everyone. This includes funding from The Stronger Towns Fund and the Future High Street Fund. We are working on the design and delivery of these projects. The projects include:

  • Market Place improvements
  • property reuse fund
  • improvements to shared pedestrian and vehicle spaces along Fore Bondgate
  • a new hotel in the Market Place Hotel
  • an artists' hub
  • a new use for the Mechanics Institute        
  • improved traffic layout at Tindale Triangle

What we are consulting on

Market Place improvements

This project will create additional pedestrian space on the south side, allowing for events or additional tables and chairs for Market Place businesses. The project proposes to:

  • make improvements to existing street lighting and architectural lighting of key buildings, such as the Town Hall
  • installation of gobo lighting to create atmosphere for community events
  • extend the pedestrian space/spill out space on southern side of Market Place to create spaces where people can walk, sit outside for refreshments or food
  • create new cycle hub facilities

Property reuse fund

This fund aims to reduce the number of empty properties on the principal streets surrounding the Market Place by giving grants to businesses so they can bring them back into use. The scheme was launched in 2021 and has proved very popular. We have already begun issuing grants and are currently looking at over 20 expressions of interest. By extending the scheme, more businesses will be able to use vacant buildings within the town centre by March 2026. The project proposes to:

  • support property conversions which will increase the amount of overnight accommodation for visitors to the town
  • redevelop and reuse existing vacant buildings to increase space for businesses to use
  • support the creation of new employment opportunities in the town centre
  • aid the potential reuse of listed buildings and support for Heritage Action Zone
  • increase the number of people visiting and how long they stay in the town centre

Fore Bondgate

This project will renew and improve the pavement and road along Fore Bondgate, building on the improvements completed a decade ago.

It will also seek to improve the existing historic street lighting in Fore Bondgate. These improvements will provide energy savings and reduced maintenance costs. The rationalisation of space in Finkle Street will improve links between Fore Bondgate, Finkle Street and the bus station. The project proposes to:

  • provide improvements to existing street lighting to reduce running costs and help towards climate emergency goals
  • see the renewal of shared public spaces for pedestrians and vehicles along Fore Bondgate and Finkle Street
  • update the layout of parking bays to increase the use of space in Finkle Street (including the current disabled parking bays)
  • improve pedestrian arrangements and access between Fore Bondgate, Finkle Street and the bus station
  • consider new access arrangements to the entrance to Fore Bondgate such as a barrier entry system, which could include traffic enforcement cameras

Market Place Hotel

It is proposed that funding is used towards redeveloping 41 Market Place (former Castle Bar and Hotel) and 42 Market Place (currently office and community space) into a 60 bedroom boutique hotel.

The Market Place Hotel project will provide a much needed quality, modern hotel in Bishop Auckland, ensuring the town has an attractive range of hotel accommodation options for overnight visitors from the new visitor attractions. The development of Bishop Auckland as a visitor destination will require a significant increase in hotel accommodation in the area to meet the growth in visitors to the town and wider southwest area.

The project proposes to:

  • provide an improved accommodation offer in the town centre to support delivery of the growth of Bishop Auckland as a tourist destination with approximately 1.5million visitors over the next 10 years
  • allow visitors to stay two or more days and explore the wider area around Bishop Auckland including Durham City, Durham Dales, Beamish Museum, Bowes Museum, Raby Castle, increasing the value of the County's visitor economy
  • create new job opportunities in the town centre
  • bring one vacant and one underused building back into use

Artists' hub

The Auckland Project, together with partners, propose to create an artists' hub to support the ongoing cultural regeneration of Bishop Auckland. The hub will be located in a disused building in the Market Place and allow potential local involvement including:

  • coordinating events and exhibitions
  • a creative space and business support for local artists
  • an exhibition space
  • a forum for art and gallery businesses in the town to come together

The key focus will be the creation of an artist-led community to support the development of local artists and communities. It will provide space for creative practice, performance and an artist led programme of events, exhibitions, projects and activities.

    Mechanics Institute

    Constructed by the Literary, Scientific and Mechanics' Institution society in 1880 as a reading rooms and recreation space, this historic building is significant both in terms of its architectural interest and its social history. The building was boarded up following a fire and has been vacant and increasingly derelict since 2007. The Heritage Action Zone identified the building as a priority project and has undertaken a condition survey, options appraisal and feasibility study to bring this building back into economic use.

    It is proposed to bring the building back into use to provide training and employment opportunities for young people. Local community groups have expressed an interest in the building and we would work with a building preservation trust that could restore the building. A Community Interest Company would manage and maintain it. The project proposes to:

    • increase training and employment opportunities for young people
    • increase use of the town centre
    • repair and reuse an existing vacant building
    • help the Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone have the building removed from the 'Heritage at Risk' list of buildings

    Tindale Triangle

    The Tindale Triangle Project will make improvements to the road layout to reduce traffic delays and provide a separation of vehicles and cyclists to increase safety.

    Looking forward, the expected increase in traffic linked to both visitor attractions and the retail and leisure facilities across the wider Tindale Crescent development means improvements are needed to the key junctions to ensure both local and visitor traffic can flow effectively. While our plans for junction improvement have been under development, the Auckland Retail Park scheme has begun to prepare to move into the construction phase providing the opportunity to provide additional large retail units and leisure facilities beyond those which can be accommodated in the town centre. This development provides the opportunity to create an additional 450 retail and leisure-based jobs, alongside the junction improvement works.

    The Tindale Triangle project will:

    • see improvements to three key junctions to the south of the town
    • provide support to secure the delivery of the new retail and leisure facilities and the associated new jobs

    Have your say

    The closing date for comments was 11.59pm on 21 November 2022.

    Next steps

    Following consultation, we will consider the responses and feedback to the Stronger Towns Board before preparing detailed plans and drawings. Further community engagement and consultation will take place as we move through the process.