Spectacular £100m plans for Auckland Castle attraction inspired by French theme park

£100m historical leisure park with stunning nightshow planned for Auckland Castle

SPECTACULAR BACKDROP: Auckland Castle

EXTRAORDINARY VISION: Jonathan Ruffer

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Deputy Editor

A £100m plan to create a historical leisure park in County Durham will be unveiled today.

The park, set in the shadow of Auckland Castle, aims to eventually attract 800,000 visitors a year, providing an enormous boost for the local economy.

The centre piece will be a visually stunning £20m night show, which will re-create about 2,000 years of North-East history in the style of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London. It is hoped the first shows, with a cast of 600 and watched by a nightly audience of 6,000, will be held in spring 2016.

The setting is the former Eleven Arches golf course, a 115-acre site in a loop of the River Wear on the northern edge of Bishop Auckland.

The extraordinary plan is the brainchild of Jonathan Ruffer, the multi-millionaire City financier-turned-philanthropist who saved Auckland Castle in 2012 when the Church Commissioners were secretly planning to sell it. The castle, which for 900 years was the home of the Bishop of Durham, is being transformed into a £50m world class tourist destination.

For the leisure park, Mr Ruffer is drawing inspiration from Puy du Fou in France, which is the second most visited tourist attraction in its country after Euro Disney. It stages a spectacular nightly historical production and was voted the best theme park in the world in 2012.

Dr Robert McManners, chairman of Bishop Auckland Civic Society, said: "This is a wonderful, unique opportunity for the whole community to come together in a shared vision to enable our town to prosper.

"It is a huge and exciting project."

Last September, Chris Lloyd joined Jonathan Ruffer on a visit to Puy du Fou to see if it could be transplanted to County Durham.

I WAS scoffing all the way to France: volunteers put on an open air historical pageant in the middle of the countryside. It was bound to be, as we say in English, tosh, and, as we were not allowed to say in French, merde.

But I was wrong.

The Northern Echo:

On a balmy September night, with a genuine ruined chateau and a manmade lake in front of me, I was blown away.

I was staggered.

In the course of a couple of hours, La Cinscnie, the worlds biggest night-time show, used 1,200 actors and 120 riders who got through 24,000 costumes and 1,000 fireworks as they romped across a stage 400 metres wide and 1,000 metres deep, and through 2,000 years of French history, using horses, geese, sprinting pigs and stunning effects.

Horses cantered on water. A man exploded in flames. A horse was shot dead as it galloped, collapsing in mid-stride and holding its death pose on the ground.

A peasant exited stage left pursued at full pelt by flock of sheep.

At one moment, the chateau was an opulent mansion, the next it was on fire as the Revolution took hold, and the next it was under fire as sirens screamed and wartime bombs exploded all around.

I was at a loss to describe it.

In my notes in the darkness, I wrote: "It is Durhams Lumiere on the scale of the Eiffel Tower meets the Olympics opening ceremony meets the surreal world of the Teletubbies meets Its A Knockout meets Horse of the Year Show meets Ben Hur. Its Hans Christian Andersen meets Thomas Hardy set in a boulangerie theres a giant muffin the size of a small house on the stage!"

With the entrance of the supersize cake, on a cart pulled by a handful of horses with icing made of people, I put my pen away. Words were inadequate and so I just let myself enjoy the spectacle, as ten million others have done since Puy du Fou opened in 1978.

Just as impressive as the stage show was the back-stage, where the hundreds of volunteers prepare for their starring moments. More than 1,000 are required each night, and about 3,500 are required for a full season.

Back stage was a vibrant village community. Whole families were immersed in the show. They dedicate their lives to making it happen, and their young people learn all kinds of new skills while having fun. In Britain, David Cameron's big society has been derided, but in La Vende, volunteers have created something special.

The Northern Echo:

The second day of our visit was dreadful. We were drenched. But the show went on.

There are a further five performance areas on the site, where 30-minute long shows are acted out every hour or two during the day. Each looks at an aspect of French history, like the Viking invasion, the Hundred Years War and Cardinal Richelieus musketeers. The most memorable was the Gauls versus the Romans, which featured real lions.

In Bishop Auckland, this day park will be in phase two of the development to encourage people to stay longer in the town.

First, phase one, the night show, will have to overcome the planning hurdles. If it does, it could be sensational, the best thing to have happened to Bishop Auckland since Bishop Eadmund put the first manor house on the hill overlooking the Wear. It really is not to be scoffed at.

AS dusk falls in Bishop Auckland, a spectacular historical night show unfolds before the eyes of an excited 6,000 strong crowd.

With the majestic chapel of Auckland Castle as its backdrop, the story of centuries of North-East history is told by a cast of hundreds using dramatic special effects, including water fountains, pyrotechnics, music and projections.

There could be Roman gladiators on Hadrians wall, Viking invaders pursuing St Cuthberts monks, the birth of the railways and Hartlepools First World War bombardment all brought to life in an 80 minute long show, repeated 30 times a year, starting in spring 2016.

But the £20m nightshow, a not-for-profit venture, on the Eleven Arches site is only the start of the 100m leisure park plan to be unveiled today.

Phase two of the plan is due to begin in 2018, with the construction of a day park on the former Eleven Arches golf course, which is named after the commanding Newton Cap viaduct which strides across the wide valley of the Wear.

The day park will consist of themed mini-shows celebrating different aspects of the history of the region and the country as a whole. It will encourage visitors up to 800,000 a year to spend a day or more immersed in Bishop Auckland, and in contributing to the local economy.

When the day park opens in 2020, it is hoped that the two phases of the development will have created more than 100 full-time jobs, with another 200 being created in the wider economy.

An Eleven Arches Academy is also to be created. The night show requires about 600 volunteers to act it out, and the academy will annually train 300 aged between eight and 25 in everything that the show needs: sword fighting, horsemanship, falconry, sound, lighting, pyrotechnics, animal care The park is to be developed by the Eleven Arches Trust, which is separate from the trust which runs Auckland Castle.

Discussions have already begun with local schools and colleges regarding the academy, although a planning application for the park has yet to be submitted to Durham County Council. However, part of the idea of todays launch is to get feedback to assist with the application which, the Eleven Arches Trust says, will be sensitive to the possible impact on those living close by and will minimise any potential difficulties. Transport and noise are going to be the most obvious questions.

The development follows a template mapped out by Puy du Fou, near Nantes in France. It was established in 1978 with a ruined chateau as its backdrop. It attracts 1.7m visitors a year, employs 1,300 people and is credited with creating more than 3,000 jobs in the Vende region.

The Northern Echo:

The park fits the vision of Stokesley-born financier Jonathan Ruffer who has already invested 35m in Auckland Castle. He sees his investment as not only saving a crucial part of the history of Christianity, but also as an opportunity to improve ordinary peoples lives through economic regeneration.

Dr Robert McManners, chairman of Bishop Auckland Civic Society and a trustee at the castle, said: "For a long time, the need for something-to-be-done to revitalise Bishop Auckland has been frequently voiced.

"Not only will this bring a wonderful visual experience for the visitor, but it also has the potential of creating many truly new jobs. It has the power of establishing a social cohesion across the age groups and of encouraging a vast range of new skills."

Mr Ruffer said: "On the back of all the encouragement weve received from the community in Bishop Auckland and beyond, we are very positive the Eleven Arches concept will work.

"We have a template with a proven track record. Puy du Fou is the best of the best and they are helping us with the project.

If we can couple a beautiful night show with a successful day park, then we will have a winning formula in County Durham. It is a marriage made in heaven.

It is the first time that Puy du Fou, the most visited attraction in France after Euro Disney, has allowed its model to be copied abroad."

Anne-Isabelle Daulon, who is leading the Eleven Arches project, said: "A visit to the Puy de Fou Grand Parc offers an awe-inspiring set of historical shows in the middle of unspoilt countryside.

"Its night show is a breathtaking and moving spectacle, as well as an inspiring human adventure, orchestrated by the community of volunteers behind it.

"It is this spirit we want to recreate in the Eleven Arches Night Show."

Comments (30)

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4:33am Thu 3 Apr 14

grandmab says...

This sound absolutely spectacular. I would love to see it! BUT- where in Bishop Auckland are you going to park enough cars and coaches to accommodate all the visitors. Rail transport? Questionable at the best of times and a difficult connect from all airports. Buses you say, what a laugh at least an hour's ride from any major town and from a village good luck. This will not work without good transport links. Hope he has friends in high place to get this sorted. I for one would go and see this.
This sound absolutely spectacular. I would love to see it! BUT- where in Bishop Auckland are you going to park enough cars and coaches to accommodate all the visitors. Rail transport? Questionable at the best of times and a difficult connect from all airports. Buses you say, what a laugh at least an hour's ride from any major town and from a village good luck. This will not work without good transport links. Hope he has friends in high place to get this sorted. I for one would go and see this. grandmab
  • Score: 3

8:16am Thu 3 Apr 14

foss says...

Could we just get the cinema sorted before we try and get approval for anything else please?
Could we just get the cinema sorted before we try and get approval for anything else please? foss
  • Score: 7

9:45am Thu 3 Apr 14

marilyn49 says...

Wonderful idea. Saw the development of Puy du Fou over 10 years ,it is absolutely amazing and brings in people from all over the world. It is a good hour and a half south of Nantes and the fact that it was accessed via minor country roads did not prevent it's popularity growing.
Wonderful idea. Saw the development of Puy du Fou over 10 years ,it is absolutely amazing and brings in people from all over the world. It is a good hour and a half south of Nantes and the fact that it was accessed via minor country roads did not prevent it's popularity growing. marilyn49
  • Score: 8

10:02am Thu 3 Apr 14

cushybutterfield says...

1OO Million investment, I thought the North East of England was so called ....Poverty Stricken.
1OO Million investment, I thought the North East of England was so called ....Poverty Stricken. cushybutterfield
  • Score: -5

10:32am Thu 3 Apr 14

Little Buddha says...

marilyn49 wrote:
Wonderful idea. Saw the development of Puy du Fou over 10 years ,it is absolutely amazing and brings in people from all over the world. It is a good hour and a half south of Nantes and the fact that it was accessed via minor country roads did not prevent it's popularity growing.
Will it come with a cinema and a decent gym?

Excellent idea and a fantastic opportunity for both Bishop and the surrounding areas. Ambitious plans and big dreams are what's needed and I hope it all goes well.

Although I'm wondering how the hell they're going to get DCC to approve and build the necessary transport infrastructure in under 2 years when they can't resurface roads properly and in a timely fashion.
[quote][p][bold]marilyn49[/bold] wrote: Wonderful idea. Saw the development of Puy du Fou over 10 years ,it is absolutely amazing and brings in people from all over the world. It is a good hour and a half south of Nantes and the fact that it was accessed via minor country roads did not prevent it's popularity growing.[/p][/quote]Will it come with a cinema and a decent gym? Excellent idea and a fantastic opportunity for both Bishop and the surrounding areas. Ambitious plans and big dreams are what's needed and I hope it all goes well. Although I'm wondering how the hell they're going to get DCC to approve and build the necessary transport infrastructure in under 2 years when they can't resurface roads properly and in a timely fashion. Little Buddha
  • Score: 6

10:33am Thu 3 Apr 14

Voice-of-reality says...

It would be amazing but it wil be heavily opposed in Council for at least one reason -- if there is a coffee shop inthe new venue it would have a very negative impact on the 'high street' which Zair will oppose to the last
It would be amazing but it wil be heavily opposed in Council for at least one reason -- if there is a coffee shop inthe new venue it would have a very negative impact on the 'high street' which Zair will oppose to the last Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 25

11:39am Thu 3 Apr 14

Dowfoldhouse says...

cushybutterfield wrote:
1OO Million investment, I thought the North East of England was so called ....Poverty Stricken.
It's doing things like pulling in £100million of investment that just might help us all out of being poverty-stricken. Tourism is one of the largest employers in Durham and a real growth success story, and we should celebrate and support it..
[quote][p][bold]cushybutterfield[/bold] wrote: 1OO Million investment, I thought the North East of England was so called ....Poverty Stricken.[/p][/quote]It's doing things like pulling in £100million of investment that just might help us all out of being poverty-stricken. Tourism is one of the largest employers in Durham and a real growth success story, and we should celebrate and support it.. Dowfoldhouse
  • Score: 13

12:04pm Thu 3 Apr 14

FirTreeFC says...

Fantastic idea, seen the show in France it is awesome. Yes there are likely to be a few challenges on noise and traffic but not impossible, look at the tiny roads leading to Alton towers theme park and they have managed. I am so happy that the youth may have opportunities locally to train, perform and work on such a great platform. I for one give my 100% backing, fingers crossed DCC do not mess it up with idotic constrants placed on the Harperley POW camp.
Fantastic idea, seen the show in France it is awesome. Yes there are likely to be a few challenges on noise and traffic but not impossible, look at the tiny roads leading to Alton towers theme park and they have managed. I am so happy that the youth may have opportunities locally to train, perform and work on such a great platform. I for one give my 100% backing, fingers crossed DCC do not mess it up with idotic constrants placed on the Harperley POW camp. FirTreeFC
  • Score: 5

12:19pm Thu 3 Apr 14

bishopman says...

Another stupid, childish comment form 'Voice-of-reality' but we shouldnt expect anything less,
Another stupid, childish comment form 'Voice-of-reality' but we shouldnt expect anything less, bishopman
  • Score: -10

1:13pm Thu 3 Apr 14

paultheteacher says...

This new development is more great news for the town. It is the perfect opportunity to start and redevelop the Town Center with new shops more suited to the tourist market. New bistros, cafes,coffee shops craft shops should all be on the agenda. Combine this with the Cinema and leisure complex planned for St Helen's and Bishop Auckland could become a great place to live in and visit.
This new development is more great news for the town. It is the perfect opportunity to start and redevelop the Town Center with new shops more suited to the tourist market. New bistros, cafes,coffee shops craft shops should all be on the agenda. Combine this with the Cinema and leisure complex planned for St Helen's and Bishop Auckland could become a great place to live in and visit. paultheteacher
  • Score: 19

3:00pm Thu 3 Apr 14

cushybutterfield says...

Fair enough, lets have this new investment, its a pity the Council did not invest into something like this years ago for the kids. Seems too good to be true, the negative point scoring politically correct punters will probably vote against on 'Health and Safety grounds.
Fair enough, lets have this new investment, its a pity the Council did not invest into something like this years ago for the kids. Seems too good to be true, the negative point scoring politically correct punters will probably vote against on 'Health and Safety grounds. cushybutterfield
  • Score: -2

3:16pm Thu 3 Apr 14

BA Townie says...

Does " Voice of reality" have a personal vendetta against Councillor Sam Zair ?
He is always making such spiteful , school playground type ,comments about him. I am not of the same political persuasion as Councillor Zair but I do believe that he has the right to express his views and to support other traders in the area in which his cafe is situated. If "Voice of reality" is so opposed to Councillor Zair why does he not stand for election?
Does " Voice of reality" have a personal vendetta against Councillor Sam Zair ? He is always making such spiteful , school playground type ,comments about him. I am not of the same political persuasion as Councillor Zair but I do believe that he has the right to express his views and to support other traders in the area in which his cafe is situated. If "Voice of reality" is so opposed to Councillor Zair why does he not stand for election? BA Townie
  • Score: -6

4:30pm Thu 3 Apr 14

bambara says...

This is a really good piece of news. For far too many years the bishops palace did little more than block out a section of Bishop Auckland centre and restrict development.
I don't see parking as too much of a problem, there is parking at both the town centre supermarkets, and in the multi-storey at the bus station and a couple of other places, may need to add a couple more, but that is not a bad thing. Could open up a second entrance from the Binchester side, make use of the Roman ruins as a second part to this, and that would ease the problem as well.
This is a really good piece of news. For far too many years the bishops palace did little more than block out a section of Bishop Auckland centre and restrict development. I don't see parking as too much of a problem, there is parking at both the town centre supermarkets, and in the multi-storey at the bus station and a couple of other places, may need to add a couple more, but that is not a bad thing. Could open up a second entrance from the Binchester side, make use of the Roman ruins as a second part to this, and that would ease the problem as well. bambara
  • Score: -1

5:23pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Homshaw1 says...

Sound like a big boost to the area. Could be a major source of employment
Sound like a big boost to the area. Could be a major source of employment Homshaw1
  • Score: 3

5:36pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Or rather, bishopman, an accurate comment on the voting patterns of a councillor who seems too often put the business needs of one enterprise above those of the many. One notes, of course, that my longterm campaigning for more facilities at Tindale have finally been agreed.

Of course, if you are saying that my welcoming of the scheme 'is childish' - you might care to elucidate further. Personally, I would have thought that a scheme that would bring employment was a good idea - but clearly you disagree. Socialist are you? Trying to keep everyone dependent on the state? Achieving equality through levelling down?
Or rather, bishopman, an accurate comment on the voting patterns of a councillor who seems too often put the business needs of one enterprise above those of the many. One notes, of course, that my longterm campaigning for more facilities at Tindale have finally been agreed. Of course, if you are saying that my welcoming of the scheme 'is childish' - you might care to elucidate further. Personally, I would have thought that a scheme that would bring employment was a good idea - but clearly you disagree. Socialist are you? Trying to keep everyone dependent on the state? Achieving equality through levelling down? Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 9

6:35pm Thu 3 Apr 14

pilchrat says...

"Voice of Reality" is spot on about Zair. And any "childish comments" he's made are purely based on his track record to date; at every given opportunity he's tried to undermine the only investment this town (note town, not town centre) has seen in years. Oh and it's amazing how hanging baskets and whatnot magically appear on Bondgate. A certain persons coffee shop is there.

Zair aside ...

I think Jonathan Ruffer should stand for election. His hearts right in it and good on him. He's the best thing to come to the area in recent years, and for a bloke that's not from Bishop, we should all be very thankful of the investment he's pouring into our town. Brilliant. I'd love to visit what is being described in this article. Great work Mr Ruffer! I hope you get it off the ground.
"Voice of Reality" is spot on about Zair. And any "childish comments" he's made are purely based on his track record to date; at every given opportunity he's tried to undermine the only investment this town (note town, not town centre) has seen in years. Oh and it's amazing how hanging baskets and whatnot magically appear on Bondgate. A certain persons coffee shop is there. Zair aside ... I think Jonathan Ruffer should stand for election. His hearts right in it and good on him. He's the best thing to come to the area in recent years, and for a bloke that's not from Bishop, we should all be very thankful of the investment he's pouring into our town. Brilliant. I'd love to visit what is being described in this article. Great work Mr Ruffer! I hope you get it off the ground. pilchrat
  • Score: 17

6:41pm Thu 3 Apr 14

bambara says...

An accurate comment, based on what evidence VOR? From what I have seen, no evidence other than your own bitter and biased opinion.

As noted by BA Townie, who states himself that he does not share the political views of Councillor Zair, you have a history of making "spiteful , school playground type ,comments" about the good Councillor.

This is a really good piece of news for Bishop Auckland, and that is irrespective of if you are a Socialist (I am) or not.

Let's just hope that County Durham can use this, the story of the West Auckland world cup winners, Durham City, Hartlepool historic quay, Hadrians Wall, Beamish, and the natural beauty of the area to become a real tourist attraction.
An accurate comment, based on what evidence VOR? From what I have seen, no evidence other than your own bitter and biased opinion. As noted by BA Townie, who states himself that he does not share the political views of Councillor Zair, you have a history of making "spiteful , school playground type ,comments" about the good Councillor. This is a really good piece of news for Bishop Auckland, and that is irrespective of if you are a Socialist (I am) or not. Let's just hope that County Durham can use this, the story of the West Auckland world cup winners, Durham City, Hartlepool historic quay, Hadrians Wall, Beamish, and the natural beauty of the area to become a real tourist attraction. bambara
  • Score: -8

6:57pm Thu 3 Apr 14

bambara says...

OK pilchrat, I will assume that Zair is voting against the further development of the West Auckland retail area.
There is still an alternative view to that.
The historic centre of Bishop Auckland is the market place, and the main street. It is in this area that by far the majority of small and more importantly locally owned and run businesses are located. As you say the councillor has one himself. He has personnally backed and invested in the historic centre of Bishop Auckland.
If he believes that it is not in the interests of the local economy to see the centre of commerce for Bishop Auckland move out to an area dominated by very large retail establishments owned and run by companies with no ties to Bishop Auckland, then how would you expect him to vote?
OK pilchrat, I will assume that Zair is voting against the further development of the West Auckland retail area. There is still an alternative view to that. The historic centre of Bishop Auckland is the market place, and the main street. It is in this area that by far the majority of small and more importantly locally owned and run businesses are located. As you say the councillor has one himself. He has personnally backed and invested in the historic centre of Bishop Auckland. If he believes that it is not in the interests of the local economy to see the centre of commerce for Bishop Auckland move out to an area dominated by very large retail establishments owned and run by companies with no ties to Bishop Auckland, then how would you expect him to vote? bambara
  • Score: -5

7:52pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Voice-of-reality says...

I would expect him to vote in favour of the developments that will bring the most employment opportunities to the urban area. A cafe employs one or two - a cinema many more. Further, it is in the interests of the local economy to see major national chains in the bishop urban area and for facilities to be provided to keep families spending their hard earned money in the area rather than, for instance, Teesside or Gateshead/Newcastle. A new set of lighting around the Town Hall may look very nice and the large spehrical balls may serve a purpose (what is it) but they certainly have not increased ease of shoppers access to the shops in the high street. One wonders, therefore, what positive economic benefit they have brought - beyond lighting up a square that is empty and looks partially derelict once night falls.
Of course, a further way of seeing your point is not that 'it is the high strret where the majority of locally owned business are' but rather where the majroty of empty shops are located and charity shops that contribute little to local tax rates - little to employment (given the volunteers) - and nothing at all to the overall attractiveness of the area as somewhere one would want to shop.
As for Zair - my comments are a result purely of his voting history - I will chnage them - when his voting patterns alter. I supsect both changes will take some time.
I would expect him to vote in favour of the developments that will bring the most employment opportunities to the urban area. A cafe employs one or two - a cinema many more. Further, it is in the interests of the local economy to see major national chains in the bishop urban area and for facilities to be provided to keep families spending their hard earned money in the area rather than, for instance, Teesside or Gateshead/Newcastle. A new set of lighting around the Town Hall may look very nice and the large spehrical balls may serve a purpose (what is it) but they certainly have not increased ease of shoppers access to the shops in the high street. One wonders, therefore, what positive economic benefit they have brought - beyond lighting up a square that is empty and looks partially derelict once night falls. Of course, a further way of seeing your point is not that 'it is the high strret where the majority of locally owned business are' but rather where the majroty of empty shops are located and charity shops that contribute little to local tax rates - little to employment (given the volunteers) - and nothing at all to the overall attractiveness of the area as somewhere one would want to shop. As for Zair - my comments are a result purely of his voting history - I will chnage them - when his voting patterns alter. I supsect both changes will take some time. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 13

10:38pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Nicholas_Till says...

It sounds excellent. I hope the story of Jonathan Ruffer and Bishop Auckland continues well. Having plenty of his own money I imagine he can pursue his projects with relative independence from grants-with-strings and other such mischief.
It sounds excellent. I hope the story of Jonathan Ruffer and Bishop Auckland continues well. Having plenty of his own money I imagine he can pursue his projects with relative independence from grants-with-strings and other such mischief. Nicholas_Till
  • Score: 1

11:33pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Rjenkins21 says...

Headline grabbing more than real. Only 10 jobs and expects loads of free volunteers, after they've found more money to pay for it. A theme park full of free labour that makes loads of noise isn't as good as it sounds. Ask the people of Bishop if they want it after it's been running for a year with fireworks every night! Doesn't show much care for the town or castle.
Headline grabbing more than real. Only 10 jobs and expects loads of free volunteers, after they've found more money to pay for it. A theme park full of free labour that makes loads of noise isn't as good as it sounds. Ask the people of Bishop if they want it after it's been running for a year with fireworks every night! Doesn't show much care for the town or castle. Rjenkins21
  • Score: 7

7:18pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Newton123 says...

What a load of rubbish! Ruining the beautiful countryside. My house over looks the area and it's so beautiful and quiet. This is all we need, fire works every night! We aren't going to get sick of that are we? As for parking & health and safety etc. they stopped the annual fireworks display because they 'couldn't cope' with it being so popular. They need to focus on what the people of bishop actually want, such as getting the cinema sorted, more decent shops, a good leisure centre / pool, sorting out the town centre..... The list goes on and on. Not a bloody medieval theme park!
What a load of rubbish! Ruining the beautiful countryside. My house over looks the area and it's so beautiful and quiet. This is all we need, fire works every night! We aren't going to get sick of that are we? As for parking & health and safety etc. they stopped the annual fireworks display because they 'couldn't cope' with it being so popular. They need to focus on what the people of bishop actually want, such as getting the cinema sorted, more decent shops, a good leisure centre / pool, sorting out the town centre..... The list goes on and on. Not a bloody medieval theme park! Newton123
  • Score: 3

7:35pm Fri 4 Apr 14

marilyn49 says...

This project could generate the money to fund the things that the people of Bishop 'allegedly' want. I hope for their sake that the backer of this enlightened scheme is not driven to relocate by a few nimbys.
This project could generate the money to fund the things that the people of Bishop 'allegedly' want. I hope for their sake that the backer of this enlightened scheme is not driven to relocate by a few nimbys. marilyn49
  • Score: -1

9:13pm Fri 4 Apr 14

updaler says...

Untill yesterday I had never heard of Puy du Fou and so i've been reading up on it and looking at it on utube. I have to say how impressed I am with not only the park but also the mentality of the people that makes it such a success. I hope that they can get the full backing from the council and local councilors to help this scheme along.
Untill yesterday I had never heard of Puy du Fou and so i've been reading up on it and looking at it on utube. I have to say how impressed I am with not only the park but also the mentality of the people that makes it such a success. I hope that they can get the full backing from the council and local councilors to help this scheme along. updaler
  • Score: 2

2:35pm Sat 5 Apr 14

cushybutterfield says...

Once it is built their will be little peace as the public descend with their numerous demands and disgusting recurring litter and general environmental damage and shock. Far better of applying for licenses for 1OO GAS DRILLING FRACKING Machines which you will hardly hear and be 1000 times kinder on the environment CREATING EAL JOB OPPORTUNITIES and much needed apprenticeships for NOW and FUTURE generations. Amusement Park Just watch you sacred House prices plummet and general crime soar..
Once it is built their will be little peace as the public descend with their numerous demands and disgusting recurring litter and general environmental damage and shock. Far better of applying for licenses for 1OO GAS DRILLING FRACKING Machines which you will hardly hear and be 1000 times kinder on the environment CREATING EAL JOB OPPORTUNITIES and much needed apprenticeships for NOW and FUTURE generations. Amusement Park Just watch you sacred House prices plummet and general crime soar.. cushybutterfield
  • Score: -3

1:12am Sun 6 Apr 14

Pit Bird says...

As an ex-pat living in the south, this would encourage me to visit more often. I , like many others moved away from somewhere I love for work. I see this as an opportunity to create much needed jobs and ensure many more of our youngsters don't leave the Bishop area.
As an ex-pat living in the south, this would encourage me to visit more often. I , like many others moved away from somewhere I love for work. I see this as an opportunity to create much needed jobs and ensure many more of our youngsters don't leave the Bishop area. Pit Bird
  • Score: 3

4:26pm Sun 6 Apr 14

cushybutterfield says...

Many 'well- shod' country liberal minded 'are against ANY thing new, most are even against ANY new British industries and ***new apprenticeship's for the young. Why ? because it is effecting and encroaching on their 'narrow cosy selfish, world(s) whether it be hamlet, village or otherwise. Mention the work FRACKING and they 'whinge, 'whine and protest. Most 'NIMBYS' thrive on negativity because it is effecting THEM. Any British National of local interest can go to negative-pot. The only exception being is when 'CLEGG and C'o are canvassing for rewards and greater human rights for the ' long term workshy benefit, roughs and vagabonds'. Makes you shockingly sick. No wonder common- sense Nigel FARRAGE 'ran rings around politically correct brainwashed Clegg' and this constant bleating on about 'side-tracking negative Hype by Clegg regarding climate change is 'load of codswallop, the climate has repeatedly changed since 'day one of creation' and will continue to do so, end of matter..
Many 'well- shod' country liberal minded 'are against ANY thing new, most are even against ANY new British industries and ***new apprenticeship's for the young. Why ? because it is effecting and encroaching on their 'narrow cosy selfish, world(s) whether it be hamlet, village or otherwise. Mention the work FRACKING and they 'whinge, 'whine and protest. Most 'NIMBYS' thrive on negativity because it is effecting THEM. Any British National of local interest can go to negative-pot. The only exception being is when 'CLEGG and C'o are canvassing for rewards and greater human rights for the ' long term workshy benefit, roughs and vagabonds'. Makes you shockingly sick. No wonder common- sense Nigel FARRAGE 'ran rings around politically correct brainwashed Clegg' and this constant bleating on about 'side-tracking negative Hype by Clegg regarding climate change is 'load of codswallop, the climate has repeatedly changed since 'day one of creation' and will continue to do so, end of matter.. cushybutterfield
  • Score: -2

2:41pm Mon 7 Apr 14

sweetbriar says...

Not in the best beautiful piece of countryside in the area! I thought we were all supposed be getting fit and healthy - if they take this away where do we go? The leisure park should be set within the Castle's perimeter or into the adjoining park or somewhere else within the town - not in Bishop Auckland's only patch of greenspace.
Not in the best beautiful piece of countryside in the area! I thought we were all supposed be getting fit and healthy - if they take this away where do we go? The leisure park should be set within the Castle's perimeter or into the adjoining park or somewhere else within the town - not in Bishop Auckland's only patch of greenspace. sweetbriar
  • Score: -2

7:41pm Tue 8 Apr 14

settheworldonfire says...

BA Townie wrote:
Does " Voice of reality" have a personal vendetta against Councillor Sam Zair ?
He is always making such spiteful , school playground type ,comments about him. I am not of the same political persuasion as Councillor Zair but I do believe that he has the right to express his views and to support other traders in the area in which his cafe is situated. If "Voice of reality" is so opposed to Councillor Zair why does he not stand for election?
The Zairs only think about what affects their businesses, not what is affecting Bishop Auckland...Time for him to go....
[quote][p][bold]BA Townie[/bold] wrote: Does " Voice of reality" have a personal vendetta against Councillor Sam Zair ? He is always making such spiteful , school playground type ,comments about him. I am not of the same political persuasion as Councillor Zair but I do believe that he has the right to express his views and to support other traders in the area in which his cafe is situated. If "Voice of reality" is so opposed to Councillor Zair why does he not stand for election?[/p][/quote]The Zairs only think about what affects their businesses, not what is affecting Bishop Auckland...Time for him to go.... settheworldonfire
  • Score: 1

8:56pm Tue 8 Apr 14

IanfromCrook says...

Excellent idea hope DCC are open to it. If the echo reported it correctly the council voted unanimously for the cinema so...maybe hope for Bishop.
How about going the extra mile for Crook (supermarket/new footy ground).
Excellent idea hope DCC are open to it. If the echo reported it correctly the council voted unanimously for the cinema so...maybe hope for Bishop. How about going the extra mile for Crook (supermarket/new footy ground). IanfromCrook
  • Score: 1

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