WORK is underway to secure a major grant with aims of strengthening a historic town in County Durham.

Durham County Council brought together key partners to start formulating a bid for up to £25 million from the Government’s Stronger Town’s Fund for Bishop Auckland.

The meeting of the Bishop Auckland Strong Town Board took place remotely using video conferencing technology to comply with national guidance on social distancing.

Bishop Auckland was invited by the Government to apply for a share of the £1.6 billion fund, and with significant programmes of investment already underway within the town, the Stronger Towns Fund aim to build on this to help maximise opportunities for local people and businesses.

Government guidance entails that the funding can be used for infrastructure, training, skills and digital investment.

During the meeting, the board discussed the opportunities presented by the guidance, and the role of members in the future, which will include creating an investment plan setting out priorities and ideas.

Board members include representatives from Durham County Council, Bishop Auckland Town Council, Bishop Auckland College, The Auckland Project, Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership, Job Centre Plus, Brighter Bishop Auckland Partnership, North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), believe housing and the business community, along with Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “As the nation comes together to meet the challenge presented by the coronavirus pandemic, we are working with regional partners and lobbying the Government to provide support to County Durham businesses and high streets.

“It is also vital that we continue to pursue opportunities such as the Stronger Towns Fund to secure additional investment for towns like Bishop Auckland.

“I am pleased the board meeting was able to take place and I look forward to working with our partners to develop a robust funding application.”

David Land, a local businessman and chairman of the Engineering and Manufacturing Network, has been selected as chair of Bishop Auckland Strong Town Board.

Mr Land said: “It was good to bring all of the partners together to discuss how we can attract investment and provide the development Bishop Auckland needs.

“Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic and there was a strong sense of purpose not only for submitting the bid and securing the opportunities this presents, but for working together to support the town.”

For information about how Durham County Council is supporting businesses and workers across the county affected by the coronavirus pandemic, visit or