Recovery and regeneration are words that have taken on added importance in recent months. As we navigate our way through the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that investing in towns and villages will be vital to our recovery and future prosperity.

Durham County Council is committed to ambitious regeneration projects across the county and anticipates £3.4 billion will be invested by 2035, resulting in the creation of 32,000 jobs and safeguarding thousands more at a time when jobs are more important than ever.

Our Towns and Villages programme is a major part of our approach to regeneration and recognises that communities are the beating heart of County Durham. Already, £750 million has been committed by the council and other organisation to regeneration projects across the county and we have set aside a further £20million for our Towns and Villages Investment Plan. This is a three-year programme of projects to support parts of the county most in need, where we know the impact of the pandemic is being felt especially hard.

And, last week, the council’s Cabinet agreed to invest an additional £5 million to allow our 14 Area Action Partnerships to support projects identified by residents during a public consultation last year.

The Towns and Villages programme centres around one key aim: to make sure the money we spend and the services we provide deliver the best possible outcomes for communities across the county.

From breathing fresh life into our high streets and supporting businesses large and small, to improving the quality of housing and transforming derelict buildings; from enhancing our parks and green spaces, to upgrading the culture and leisure facilities that enrich our lives and help us to stay fit and healthy; from boosting tourism, to improving the transport networks we rely upon each day.

Investment is already underway across County Durham, with the Digital High Street programme providing free Wi-Fi in Bishop Auckland and Stanley and set to benefit many more towns in the coming months. The new Horden Railway Station is offering greater connectivity for residents in East Durham, while this week, the demolition of Festival Walk in Spennymoor marked a major milestone in the multi-million-pound redevelopment of the site. These projects all benefited from Towns and Villages funding, which has acted as a catalyst for attracting more public and private sector investment in these areas.

Ultimately, the Towns and Village programme is about striving to ensure County Durham communities are vibrant, healthy and prosperous places, where residents feel safe and connected and businesses flourish. You can find out more about our plans online at