HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds are to be spent bringing crumbling, historic streets back to life in the North-East.

Run down areas of the region are to receive a £691,000 Government cash injection.

This will concentrate on regenerating high streets, upgrading old and under-used business properties and pressing empty first-floor rooms back into use.

Five schemes across the region will benefit from the Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (Hers).

A grant of £210,000 will be spent on conservation-minded regeneration of former mining and railway boom town Annfield Plain in County Durham.

The 18th and 19th Century Durham City suburbs of Claypath and Gilesgate are to benefit from a £126,000 cash boost.

A £100,000 Hers grant will be spent on restoring the faded elegance of 17th Century Sandhill, Newcastle, where local merchants and chandlers built plush suites above their ground-floor workshops and warehouses. But the buildings have now fallen into disrepair.

Georgian Guisborough typifies a common problem where time, weather and pollution has attacked the stone work and roofs of the buildings.

It is hoped that a £105,000 Hers grant will breathe new life into central Westgate, Bow Street and the old town hall.

Alan Adams, conservation design manager with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, says the scheme starts in Guisbrough "from a pretty low ebb."

"We are looking at the long-term economic future of the buildings as well as the substantial repairs," he said.

English Heritage, which is behind the grants scheme claim for every £10,000 of funding, another £46,000 is generated from private sector and public sources.

Peter Bromley, director of English Heritage for the North-East, said: "People in the North-East value their historic environment as it creates a sense of place and belonging and gives them pride in their local areas. We know that they want to see it nurtured and that they recognise its value as a resource for regeneration."