Dehenna Davison MP today took a walk around Bishop Auckland’s town centre alongside Historic England and Durham County Council to see how their investment was breathing new life into our local landmarks.
Together, the Council and Historic England have invested £1.6 million into the town's Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)- a five-year programme to revitalise historic sites in and around Bishop town centre for modern use- and more funding is planned. Representatives from both organisations accompanied the local MP on a walk around these sites.
During her visit, Davison saw several completed projects including the restoration of the Grade I-listed West Mural Tower at Auckland Castle and the conversion of 10 Newgate Street to an orthodontics clinic.
Then, she moved onto visit several projects currently in progress, including the transformation of Grade II-listed 25 Newgate Street – a former shoe shop – into a new business and community hub for Bishop Auckland College, which is being part funded by a £130k grant from the Heritage Action Zone. She also visited 47 Newgate Street – originally a furniture emporium but best remembered as Burtons and Dorothy Perkins – which is being converted into apartments.
Dehenna Davison MP said:
"We are truly blessed to have benefitted from Historic England’s Heritage Action Zone, whose funding has restored life and value to key areas around Bishop.
From West Mural Tower to Newgate Street, residents are being able to reconnect with sites of immense historic importance through modern uses for these buildings. I was particularly pleased to see the age-old McIntyre’s shop being done up as it is one of my favourite buildings in Bishop!
It was a pleasure to take a tour-de-force of the Zone today with stakeholders, and I want to thank Historic England and Durham County Council for their continuous work."
Jules Brown, Historic Places Advisor at Historic England, said:
“It's been great to show Dehenna how investing in the town’s heritage is bringing real improvements to the town centre and also how people feel more connected to their local heritage.
We’ve shown that the Heritage Action Zone is helping to start the revival of the town centre conservation area, inspiring more improvements to follow as the HAZ comes to an end.”