A £25 million investment in the regeneration of communities across County Durham is to be presented to councillors for approval.

Durham County Council’s Towns and Villages Investment Plan commits £20m to the county’s most disadvantaged communities and, following the significant support and opportunities identified through consultation, a further £5m is proposed for communities across County Durham.

The council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the plan, which would maximise more than £750m of investment already committed across County Durham.

It would do so by realigning existing budgets and ensuring they are used alongside the extra money to support all communities in addressing their issues and priorities following the coronavirus pandemic, helping them to recover as soon as possible.

The money would be used alongside existing council budgets, mainstream investment by partners and to attract additional expenditure to coordinate and maximise local funding opportunities.

A report to the meeting sets out how the council’s commitment to the £10.5m opening of Horden Rail Station brought about £4.4m in funding from the Department of Transport and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Furthermore a £600,000 commitment by the council through Towns and Villages was the catalyst for a multi-million investment in the redevelopment of the Festival Walk shopping centre at Spennymoor.

Councillor Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We are immensely proud to bring forward for Cabinet approval the £25m Towns and Villages Investment Plan, including its additional £5m commitment to regeneration of communities right across County Durham.

“This plan is all about ensuring the best return from the £750m of regeneration which is ongoing across the county, including projects like Horden Rail Station and Festival Walk, which our support through Towns and Villages has made possible.

“The plan sets out a programme of investment for the next three years, which reflects the feedback we have had from people all over County Durham.

“It would ensure an equitable approach to regeneration by ensuring our most disadvantaged communities benefit, and also that towns and villages across the county are supported in both addressing the challenges and opportunities identified during the consultation, and their long term recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are committed to ensuring that the investment made through Towns and Villages is co-ordinated with other expenditure by ourselves and our partners; and that our budgets and projects are all aligned to priorities that communities have identified, for the benefit of residents.”

The Cabinet meeting takes place on Wednesday 10 February at 9.30am and can be viewed online at https://www.youtube.com/user/DurhamCouncil