MORE than 11,000 North-East jobs could be created thanks to a £60m regeneration fund.

The North-East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) says projects will take place across the region after the Treasury approved plans for £60m Government borrowing.

The funding, which was the highest amount local authorities in the region could access under Chancellor George Osborne's Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), will drive forward the Urban Cores Project.

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The programme, developed by local authorities, aims to improve infrastructure, encourage private sector investment, and create 500 short-term jobs, with the aim of eventually generating 11,000 posts.

In Durham City, the project aims to create a city gateway through a £5m scheme, which would open up North Road and encourage retailers to the area.

Bosses say £100m town centre regeneration plans in South Shields, South Tyneside, will benefit from £12m PWLB money, which will go towards a new library and community hub, with £15m in Gateshead helping to create the North-East's first low-carbon district energy scheme.

Paul Woolston, NELEP chairman, said: “The North-East’s towns and cities are the region’s major centres of employment, and by improving property and access, there is potential to create thousands of jobs.”

Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council's cabinet member for economic regeneration, added: “We plan to start work on the gateway scheme next summer and expect it to deliver up to £35m of private investment in the next five years.

“As well as demolition and construction jobs, the North Road development will provide accommodation for businesses and the potential for an extra 500 jobs.”

The approval of NELEP's bid to the PWLB means work will start once borrowing has been approved by individual councils.