Masterplan report on Chester-le-Street regeneration agreed

A COUNCIL wants more people to set up and expand businesses in Chester-le-Street.

Durham County Council has drawn up a regeneration masterplan and  officials and councillors hope the town, home to the Lambton Estate – location of TV’s The Paradise – and Durham County Cricket Club – can ride out the recession and emerge stronger.

The ideas contained in the masterplan include encouraging more train operators to stop at the town’s railway station and attracting more visitors and tourists.

Getting more cricket fans to visit the town centre from the Riverside is another.

Other suggestions include building more homes near the town centre – its proximity to the A1(M) making it a prime location for commuters.

Another aspiration is the encouragement of the launch and growth of local businesses and seeking greater private investment in the town.

A new customer access point for council services will be set up in Front Street when the town’s Civic Centre, home to the defunct Chester-le-Street District Council, closes.

Cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, Neil Foster, said: “It is about encouraging the people in Chester-le-Street to develop their own businesses.”

He added that the masterplan gave residents a great opportunity to help shape the town’s future.

Council leader Simon Henig, who represents part of the town, said that improving the link between the town centre and Riverside had been a long-term goal.

He told councillors that next year’s Ashes match at the ground would attract thousands of people.

“We want to get those big flows of people walking up and down Ropery Lane to the town centre.

“It is already starting to happen. We need to make sure Front Street is a thriving shopping centre.”

The Labour-run council’s cabinet today (Wednesday November 14) agreed a report on the masterplan.

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