Does Barnard Castle still feel abandoned, despite investment?

The Northern Echo: The Witham, Barnard Castle The Witham, Barnard Castle

ON the first day of the new unitary Durham County Council, leader Simon Henig said its aim was to “not just maintain but improve services, from Barnard Castle to Blackhall, from Consett to Coxhoe.” Five years on, The Northern Echo’s local reporters assess the situation on the ground.

BARNARD Castle has benefited from at least £15m of investment since 2008; but it still feels “abandoned”, according to a town councillor.

The town was formerly the hub of Teesdale District Council (TDC), a tiny authority covering a vast rural area of south-west Durham from the outskirts of Darlington to the Cumbrian border.

In the last few years, it has seen £2.6m spent on the Barnard Castle Vision project and £3.2m on the refurbishment of The Witham as a business and arts space – and Durham County Council (DCC) has played a major part in both.

But, with Durham’s County Hall 45 minutes’ drive away, residents still feel they have “dropped off the map”, according to Councillor Thom Robinson, who lives and runs a business in the town.

“The overriding feeling of people in Barnard Castle and Teesdale is one of abandonment,” he said, pointing to reduced opening hours at Stainton Grove’s household waste recycling centre as an example of DCC lacking local knowledge.

Richard Bell, leader of DCC’s Conservatives and a county councillor for Barnard Castle West, said the 2009 shake-up had produced good and bad; arguing TDC would have struggled to cope with the depth of cuts seen since, but Teesdale had been “denuded of officers and services”.

DCC chiefs cite their support for new businesses and jobs, the development of rural broadband, new floodlighting for the castle, better parking and the redevelopment of Scar Top leisure area as examples of how it’s backing Barney.

Comments (3)

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8:49am Tue 1 Apr 14

Copley23 says...

Left behind is an understatement.

Broadband for rurals..... 1/10.....(we've been chopped and changed and still struggle to get 2megs)
Repairing of castle walls....0/10....thi
s won't change until a stone drops on an unsuspecting driver.....
General appearance of area(litter etc).....2/10...havi
ng lost most of our refuse sites.....
Roads...0/10.....but we've always been the last to benefit......except if a police vehicle has an accident - then it gets done straight away.......
Property sold off to HA's in area....2/10 (move all the idiots up here why don't you...local homes for local folk my back side).......now we have all the dross that they don't know where else to put.....choice based lettings...pah! Rural housing poilcy .....pah! Washed your hands of that didn't you.

Yep - all DCC do for us up here is collect our bins......except Rotters of course, you kiboshed that too didn't you.


Want me to go on?
Left behind is an understatement. Broadband for rurals..... 1/10.....(we've been chopped and changed and still struggle to get 2megs) Repairing of castle walls....0/10....thi s won't change until a stone drops on an unsuspecting driver..... General appearance of area(litter etc).....2/10...havi ng lost most of our refuse sites..... Roads...0/10.....but we've always been the last to benefit......except if a police vehicle has an accident - then it gets done straight away....... Property sold off to HA's in area....2/10 (move all the idiots up here why don't you...local homes for local folk my back side).......now we have all the dross that they don't know where else to put.....choice based lettings...pah! Rural housing poilcy .....pah! Washed your hands of that didn't you. Yep - all DCC do for us up here is collect our bins......except Rotters of course, you kiboshed that too didn't you. Want me to go on? Copley23
  • Score: 3

12:19pm Tue 1 Apr 14

DURHAM CITY says...

He lied there then didn't he
He lied there then didn't he DURHAM CITY
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Tue 1 Apr 14

markno1 says...

How much of this £15m investment actually came from Durham County Council and how much came from other sources of income such as The Lottery and The Vision?
Durham County Council ignore Teesdale in favour of other areas of Co Durham all the time. Just compare how much money DCC spend on Christmas Lights in Simon Henigs Chester-Le-Street and all of Teesdale.
How much of this £15m investment actually came from Durham County Council and how much came from other sources of income such as The Lottery and The Vision? Durham County Council ignore Teesdale in favour of other areas of Co Durham all the time. Just compare how much money DCC spend on Christmas Lights in Simon Henigs Chester-Le-Street and all of Teesdale. markno1
  • Score: 1

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