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Masterplan to improve economic fortunes of Chester-le-Street drawn up
12:05pm Thursday 8th November 2012 in Chester-le-Street
A MASTERPLAN to improve a town’s economic fortunes is to go before councillors next week.
A blueprint for the development of Chester-le-Street will be discussed by Durham County Council’s cabinet
Among the proposals being considered to revitalise the town are building extra houses near the town centre, including the existing civic centre buildings on Newcastle Road, increasing the number of train services stopping at the town and work to increase the number of visitors attracted to its sports and heritage facilities.
Coun Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said Chester-le-Street was a key centre within the county which had been successful in attracting and retaining businesses in recent years.
He added: "Over the course of the last ten years investment of more than £5m in the town has helped attract new retail facilities, expand business space and develop tourism and leisure opportunities.
"This has included the Drum Industrial Estate roundabout and resurfacing Mile House.
"We now need to further stimulate regeneration activity and to guide investment and growth in order to build upon the potential of Chester-le-Street as a vibrant place to live, work and visit.
"This regeneration masterplan is designed to secure the creation of a lively and modern town centre with the potential to further diversify and grow."
Among the development opportunities highlighted in the report are:
· Providing additional housing close to the town centre. The authority says it is considering the future of the civic centre site which, if declared surplus to requirements, would create a substantial development opportunity.
· Encouraging people to use the train station and working with the Department of Transport to improve the amount of services.
· Increasing the numbers of visitors to Riverside Park, the cricket ground and other leisure events.
· Improving access routes between the riverside and town centre.
· Working with the private sector to increase the number of events in the town centre, which would increase footfall and help sustain the local market.
· Strengthening Chester-le-Street’s identity as a destination for heritage, sport and recreation.
The plan, drawn up following consultation with local people including town centre businesses, will be discussed in a cabinet meeting taking place at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday.