COUNCILLORS have approved a cash injection worth more than £1m to overhaul Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

The historic site is set to have £1,194,359 lavished on it as part of wider plans to regenerate the town centre.
The money is expected to be used to refurbish theatre and cinema facilities and move the existing cafe, as well as other improvements to the building itself.
And it is hoped the investment will help reverse current ‘poor income’ by improving visitor numbers.
“At the moment it’s an underused resource and we think we can improve the facilities and make it better-run,” Iain Thompson, the county council’s corporate director of Regeneration and Local Services told today’s (Wednesday, May 15) meeting.
“It’s the cinema and theatre space where we should really able to improve visitor numbers.”
Nightlife, food, culture and transport will also be targeted under a new ‘masterplan’ for the town.
County chiefs formally approved the scheme at this morning’s meeting.
The report, which has been about two years in the making, covers how the council plans to attract more visitors to the town over the next 10-15 years, as well as how to improve infrastructure to cope with this.
“The masterplan was developed in two round of consultation,” Mr Thompson added.
“The issues raised were the things you would expect – failing shops, the need for more cafes and a better evening offer.
“There’s a lot going on in Bishop Auckland and the masterplan provides a blueprint for how partners can maximise their activities.”
The document identified three specific areas of the town that will be targeted by improvement works and development.
These are:
Market Place, Fore Bondgate, North Bondgate and the bus station – priorities
include hosting more events to increase visitors to the Market Place, promoting small business, the possible relocation of the bus station more parking
Newgate Street (North) and Kingsway – Newgate street could be targeted for development, while extra parking could be placed near Kingsway
Newgate Street (south) and the train station – identified as a ‘key area for the town’ though which it is hoped more visitors will be brought in and empty shops reoccupied.
More than £2m has previously been provided through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to overhaul the Market Place ad improve access to Auckland Castle.