A PUBLIC meeting will be held early next month to outline how part of an auction mart is being turned into a base for small rural businesses.

The £147,000 scheme will see four start-up or incubator units added to existing facilities at Middleton-in-Teesdale Auction Mart, in County Durham.

Dubbed the Middleton hub, the units are aimed at small or new enterprises, such as those currently based at home but looking to expand or others wishing to get themselves established before moving on.

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The meeting will bet held between 5pm and 8pm on Tuesday, February 4, at Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services, in Chapel Row, Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Middleton hub development worker Hayley Bell said it was hoped work on the units would have started by this time.

“It's a 15-week build and we are looking for them to be ready by the end of May,” she said.

“There has been quite a bit of interest locally – mainly from people in the Middleton-in-Teesdale area.

“Once building work starts, there will be a push on the marketing side.”

As well as explaining the Middleton hub project, rural enterprise development workers from the South Durham Enterprise Agency will attend the meeting to give advice and answer questions.