A TOWN website has been launched by ambassadors with hopes of putting their town on the map for visitors and tourists.

The Bishop Auckland town website has been developed by A-Byte Computer Solutions, based in the town, to provide visitors with a page of information, including where to stay, where to eat, things to do, comprehensive business directory, history, news, and transport.

Bishop Auckland Town Ambassadors, a group of volunteers established in 2018, hope the new site, paid for with a grant from the Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership, will give local businesses and attractions a significant boost of support over the coming year.

The team promotes Bishop Auckland to residents, visitors, businesses and investors, and over the next five years, they will be on hand to meet and greet visitors arriving into the town.

A comprehensive business directory has been prepared for the website with hundreds of Bishop Auckland businesses and services listed, however not all website features are currently visible.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions many of the town's businesses remain closed, and similarly, a directory of places to eat and drink cannot be promoted until lockdown restrictions are lifted, however will be reinstated as soon as shops and businesses reopen.

Covid-19 has resulted in limitations for the volunteers, but in 2020, 546 posts were uploaded onto their Facebook Page, generating a total of 318,240 views.

Councillor Joy Allen, who supported the website via her neighbourhood budget, said: “The town ambassadors have been doing a sterling job over the last couple of years promoting new and established businesses and encouraging residents to shop local.

"Their Facebook page has been a roaring success and highlights the amazing variety of independent businesses in the town and often attracts thousands of views for each post.

“I am extremely proud of their achievements and have backed them 100% from day one.

"Bishop Auckland is extremely lucky to have such a dedicated team of volunteers who love their town and I admire their commitment to put Bishop Auckland on the map.

“This new website couldn’t have come at a better time to support local businesses when they reopen and will go a long way to ensure that those choosing staycations choose Bishop Auckland.

The Northern Echo: The group has been promoting opportunities in the town to residents, visitors and investors for the past two yearsThe group has been promoting opportunities in the town to residents, visitors and investors for the past two years

"There is so much to see and do in Bishop Auckland, it’s great to have this one stop top visitor landing page that signposts visitors to key places, sites and useful sources of information.”

Nigel Bryson, secretary of the town ambassadors, said: "The website is a 'one stop shop' to find key information about Bishop Auckland.

"It will provide a great support in promoting the many attractions that are in and around our great town.

"When the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, we are anticipating a tourist boom in the next few years.

"The website will be a great support to the town ambassadors in welcoming visitors."

Becci Nye, manager of the Fifteas Vintage Tearoom, said: “I think it’s fantastic having all the information about the town in one place.

"We often get customers - even locals – saying they didn’t know we were there or they’d heard about us but weren’t sure of our exact location.

"I will personally use the website and will be directing customers to use it also.

"We often get asked by visitors to the town about things to do and places to go.

"It will be a fantastic guide and aid to tourism that is heading our way in the next few years - I’m really excited for the town and our future.”

Andrew Jackson, director for A-byte, said: "We are over the moon to see the launch of the website.

"This is the culmination of countless hours of work from a group of hard-working volunteers; each has the success of Bishop Auckland as their priority.

"Having this website available to list all of the benefits of our town will enable residents and visitors to find all of the various attractions on offer in Bishop Auckland."

It is predicted that a boost in visitors will occur within the next five years, and 1m additional visitors to the town are expected by 2029.

In recent years, the town has received about £120m through major investments.

This paved the way for the historical live show Kynren, the £18m refurbishment of Auckland Castle, a £1.5m refurbishment of Bishop Auckland Town Hall, the Auckland Tower and the Mining Art Museum, and further investment will also be put into Binchester Roman Fort.

The Auckland Project’s International Spanish Art Gallery and The Weardale Railway line are due to open for business this year and the UK’s only faith museum is scheduled to open in 2022.

Over the next five years, an additional £19.9 million will be invested in Bishop Auckland from the Government’s Future High Street Fund.

A £46.8 million bid to the Government’s Stronger Towns Fund was submitted recently with the intention of building the infrastructure of Bishop Auckland so it can become a visitor destination of choice with international importance.

As the plans are developed, it is hoped opportunities will arise for investors, residents, visitors and businesses alike.

To view the website visit bishopauckland.org.uk