AN initiative to help breathe new life into Barnard Castle will be launched tonight.

The Making Barney Brighter Together group will meet for the first time at The Witham, in Barnard Castle, for a round-table discussion about how best to regenerate the town centre.

Members of the town council and business leaders in Barnard Castle have already had informal preliminary discussions about how to generate ideas to attract visitors to the town and to increase the use of the town centre by residents.

Now the mayor, Councillor Sandra Moorhouse is hosting a round-table discussion for local businesses which, it is hoped, will become an independent initiative to create a dialogue between businesses in Barnard Castle and the statutory sector, including the town council, to generate ideas for ways to promote the town to residents and visitors.

Barnard Castle town clerk, Michael King, said the town council voted in November to support the discussions.

Cllr Moorhouse said: “We hope that fresh, innovative ideas can come forward. It will benefit the town if we can find new ideas to be developed by local businesses, by the town council or by other public sector or voluntary bodies with an interest in Barnard Castle.”

She added: "It's an important initiative and what we are trying to do is create dialogue and conversations between businesses in Barnard Castle and the surrounding area so we can find ways to generate more footfall in both residents and visitors."

Cllr Moorhouse said the town had a lot to offer in terms of tourism especially with its strong historical connections to famous people such as King Richard III and writers such as Charles Dickens.

The meeting will take place between 5pm and 6.30pm.

More details are available from the town council at Woodleigh, Flatts Road or by calling 01833-690970.