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Durham masterplan aims to attract £850m investment
A MASTERPLAN aimed at attracting £850m of private sector investment for Durham City has been published.
Durham County Council believes the spending could be generated from public sector support and investment worth about £130m.
The council’s Durham City Masterplan, which will go before its cabinet next week, sets as its priorities: improving retail in North Road and Claypath; developing infrastructure including the proposed western and northern bypasses; supporting Durham University’s strategy for growth – particularly among postgraduate and overseas students; improving city centre housing; and staging world-class cultural events, such as Lumiere and the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition.
Much of the plan is not new, such as turning Aykley Heads into a business quarter with up to 7,500 jobs, building more than 5,000 new homes at Sniperley, Sherburn Road and Hag House and attracting more tourists.
The masterplan also includes the redevelopment of the former ice rink, Mount Oswald golf course and Milburngate House and supporting initiatives such as the Business Improvement District and Best Bar None.
However, council chiefs hope an overarching masterplan will harness the 43,000-population city’s history, heritage, academic excellence and transport links to “showcase its potential to the private sector”.
Councillor Neil Foster, the council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “By being sensitive to this great city’s heritage and history and playing to its unique strengths there is much that can be achieved.
“This will require the public sector facilitating and supporting wherever possible significant private sector investment, particularly in the city centre.
“This needs to be approached in a planned and co-ordinated way.
“The masterplan will allow us to work with the private sector and our partners at the university and cathedral to ensure we make the most of our terrific offer.”
Elvet and Gilesgate councillor David Freeman said the plan was very welcome but added: “It is however a plan which exists on paper only and follows on from previous masterplans for Durham City in the recent past which actually had the same vision but achieved little.
“I hope that this time parts of the plan can become reality over the next few years.”
The cabinet will consider the masterplan at County Hall, Durham, on Wednesday (September 18), when they will be asked to order further consultation on the document.
The masterplan can be viewed at: democracy.durham.gov.uk by following the link to Wednesday’s cabinet meeting agenda.
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