Parking plans for Bishop Auckland retail development site

CONCERNS have been raised over plans to transform land designated for a retail development into a car park.

The site of the former bus depot on North Bondgate, Bishop Auckland, has been a derelict eyesore for many years.

Developer Gentoo was granted permission to build shops and restaurants last year.

However, company bosses said the project was unlikely to get off the ground due to the ever-expanding Bishop Auckland Shopping Park.

Speaking at a meeting of Bishop Auckland Town Council, Chris Myers, regeneration projects manager at Durham County Council (DCC), said it could be transformed into car parking in the short term.

“We are looking at car parking issues and there is an opportunity in North Bondgate,” he said. “Once we have got costs we will do a formal consultation.”

Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Councillor Charlie Kay raised concerns that if this plan went ahead the site would never again be home to businesses.

Mr Myers said: “We are looking at all other options in the short term. The retail consent is there and still valid."

Durham County Council’s short term priority is to clear the site so it can be used by exhibitors at the two-day Bishop Auckland Food Festival in April.

“It would be nice not just for the food festival,” said Councillor Lesley Zair. “Every time you drive up North Bondgate, it is more boarded up.”

The news at the council meeting sparked discussions over what type of parking is needed in Bishop Auckland town centre.

Coun Kay said: “I find it irritating that Bishop Auckland shoppers have to pay for shopping here while other towns across in the county get it for free.

“You (DCC) have to look at a fairer way.”

Councillor Ann Golightly said: “We have far too much short term parking.”

Councillor Sam Zair, who was not at the meeting on Tuesday, February 26, has previously called for free parking in an effort to boost trade in the town.

“I don’t know why Bishop Auckland can’t have free parking,” he said. “People are not going to come into the town because they have to pay. Something needs to be done.”

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Comments (4)

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4:37pm Wed 27 Feb 13

the-big-yin says...

D.c.c. do not give a toss. They have probably had their backhanders from the St Helens retail park owners.
Lets face it what d.c.c. want is Bishop Auckland empty. They need free parking to get the shoppers back again. Its a real shame. Take a look at Crook which is becoming like a ghost town now. The market place is free parking but no-one can get parked there due to all the council workers parking there all day long. time for d.c.c. to loo into that issue. We have tried our so called local councillors Eddie Murphy and John Bailey and " Jopling " but as usual its brushed aside as they don-t give a toss either.They are too busy abusing local people on facebook to worry about Crook.
D.c.c. do not give a toss. They have probably had their backhanders from the St Helens retail park owners. Lets face it what d.c.c. want is Bishop Auckland empty. They need free parking to get the shoppers back again. Its a real shame. Take a look at Crook which is becoming like a ghost town now. The market place is free parking but no-one can get parked there due to all the council workers parking there all day long. time for d.c.c. to loo into that issue. We have tried our so called local councillors Eddie Murphy and John Bailey and " Jopling " but as usual its brushed aside as they don-t give a toss either.They are too busy abusing local people on facebook to worry about Crook. the-big-yin

5:52pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Better bishop says...

Why doesn't bishop Auckland town council buy the land from gentoo and provide free parking?. What is the use of having a town council if it doesnt look at solving the problems. The town council has a six figure budget why not use it instead of subsidising DCC's food festival. What do we pay councillor Kay and Zair for as all they ever do is moan. The shops at st helen are fantastic if they wanted to be in the town centre they would have been there years ago. Let's get people elected who care for the area. North bond gate should be free parking and when the castle is finished where are the tens of thousands of visitors going to park oh I forgot the local councillors dont look that far ahead. I think the DCC guy chris Myers is talking sense lets use this land for parking and concentrate on getting businesses into the empty shops not build more!! Crazy people lol.
Why doesn't bishop Auckland town council buy the land from gentoo and provide free parking?. What is the use of having a town council if it doesnt look at solving the problems. The town council has a six figure budget why not use it instead of subsidising DCC's food festival. What do we pay councillor Kay and Zair for as all they ever do is moan. The shops at st helen are fantastic if they wanted to be in the town centre they would have been there years ago. Let's get people elected who care for the area. North bond gate should be free parking and when the castle is finished where are the tens of thousands of visitors going to park oh I forgot the local councillors dont look that far ahead. I think the DCC guy chris Myers is talking sense lets use this land for parking and concentrate on getting businesses into the empty shops not build more!! Crazy people lol. Better bishop

6:56pm Wed 27 Feb 13

margie says...

Why, in the name of sanity, does Bishop need more parking, when the town itself is rapidly becoming a ghost town?? Soon all there will be are betting shops, charity shops, and pound shops........assumin
g no more of those move to St Helens. We wont actually need any parking at all then. Surely the council (DCC as well as the Town Council) should be looking at putting something on that site which will actually draw people in, and at the same time making parking free for those who do need to pop into town for something. Maybe that will encourage decent retailers to come back into the town.......providing of course the buildings themselves are kept well maintainded so that we dont have a repeat of the Mothercare fiasco!
Why, in the name of sanity, does Bishop need more parking, when the town itself is rapidly becoming a ghost town?? Soon all there will be are betting shops, charity shops, and pound shops........assumin g no more of those move to St Helens. We wont actually need any parking at all then. Surely the council (DCC as well as the Town Council) should be looking at putting something on that site which will actually draw people in, and at the same time making parking free for those who do need to pop into town for something. Maybe that will encourage decent retailers to come back into the town.......providing of course the buildings themselves are kept well maintainded so that we dont have a repeat of the Mothercare fiasco! margie

8:47pm Wed 27 Feb 13

peter laidler says...

What on earth are Henig and his cronies doing up there in County Hall? They are ripping the heart and soul out of our town centres by supporting out of town developments in the misguided belief that it is the only way forward. I pity the retailers that are left behind trying to make a living in what are virtually becoming ghost towns. Tell me Mr Henig what plans do you have in mind for all those empty shops? You may be an academic but you possses very little common sense sir.
What on earth are Henig and his cronies doing up there in County Hall? They are ripping the heart and soul out of our town centres by supporting out of town developments in the misguided belief that it is the only way forward. I pity the retailers that are left behind trying to make a living in what are virtually becoming ghost towns. Tell me Mr Henig what plans do you have in mind for all those empty shops? You may be an academic but you possses very little common sense sir. peter laidler

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