A multi-million pound regeneration of a former County Durham mining community has been approved.

Durham County Council agreed to invest £6m into the regeneration of Horden, as part of an ambition to provide a better standard of housing and quality of life for local people.

Properties in the village’s Third Street will be acquired by the council and will then either be redeveloped to provide high quality housing, demolished and new properties built in their place, or a mix of the two.

Improved walking and cycling routes to Peterlee town centre, Horden train station and the Durham Heritage Coast are also included in the masterplan. 

The Northern Echo: Durham County Council agreed to invest £6m into the regeneration of HordenDurham County Council agreed to invest £6m into the regeneration of Horden (Image: The Northern Echo)

An ‘extensive’ consultation was carried out with residents in affected areas and those living nearby. Responses showed there was "strong support for the demolition and clearance of the Numbered Streets, (and) comprehensive regeneration”, the council said. 

The long-term goal is to transform Horden's terraced streets by addressing the number of empty homes, the high numbers of private landlords and supporting those with housing needs. It comes after repeated calls for action against anti-social tenants and poor landlords. 

However, the proposed transformation has been met with caution by some locals. Grahame Morris MP warned the area has faced too many “false dawns” and will have more confidence when there is progress on the ground.

And politicians clashed over who was to blame for the demise in the quality of housing. 

Liberal Democrat cllr Mark Wilkes accused Labour of leaving the area behind. He said: “In 2015 Labour were offered 130 properties on the numbered streets in Horden for £1.

“Labour refused and just left the area to further deteriorate. Labour had a chance to start the regeneration of Horden and utterly failed, increasing the cost to fix the problem massively. I am absolutely appalled at what we were left with. And it extends to the state of these areas too.”

Cllr Wilkes, who is also cabinet member Neighbourhoods and Climate Change, urged the government to support the council. He added: “The current and future governments must give us the resources we need to regenerate these communities because without it the cost to the whole county is unthinkable and unaffordable.” 

But Labour insists it created its own masterplan for Horden and was ready to roll out in March 2021 alongside a Levelling Up investment bid. 

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Cllr Kebin Shaw, the party’s lead for housing, explained: “Rather than progress either, Lib Dem leadership, including cllr Wilkes, backed the Tories, dismissing the masterplan and submitting a single Levelling Up bid, for half a bypass on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland. They followed this up with two failed bids, wasting £1.2m of taxpayers’ money in the process. It is this Coalition that has let down Horden, not Labour.

“Labour is part of the fabric of Horden. Its community knows it has been failed by the council. 

“Labour’s plan to regenerate Horden was agreed, the funding bid was oven ready, but this Tory-led coalition ignored the plan, ignored the bid and by doing so, ignored the people of Horden. The Levelling up failure is down to cllr Wilkes and his chaotic coalition colleagues.”