COUNCILLORS are to consider adopting a masterplan to revitalise the centre of a market town.

Proposals have been drawn up by Durham County Council outlining a vision for Chester-le-Street up to 2025.

The objectives of the scheme include improving the economic viability of the town, improving links between the town centre and the surrounding areas, encouraging viable development opportunities and promoting sustainable travel.

Councillor Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We have worked with a range of local businesses, community groups and members of the public to draw up this masterplan and have updated the document following the consultation.

“The masterplan provides a clear vision for the town focussed on developing a unique and distinct centre, with independent stores and traders at the heart of the retail offer and a complementary leisure offer.”

A public consultation exercise took place from June 26 to August 3 last year with key themes emerging from this including parking, the road network and sustainable travel as well as retail uses in the town centre, the marketplace and the appearance and condition of the town centre.

If adopted, the masterplan would include an action plan, with a range of projects including: the de-culverting of the Cong Burn and the associated regeneration of the market place, targeted business support, shop front improvement schemes and future projects such as the installation of free Wi-Fi in the town centre.

This activity will run alongside existing work such as upgrading pay and display machines to enable contactless payments.

Cllr Marshall added: “Nationally our town centres are facing increasing economic challenges, however, they are still key drivers of the economy and play an important social role at the heart of our communities. We hope this will ensure a vibrant and thriving future for Chester-le-Street town centre.”

The plan will be discussed at a cabinet meeting in County Hall on Wednesday.