PLANS to redevelop a former steelworks site that has been left derelict for years have taken a step forward.

The former steelworks site at Wolsingham has been redundant for the last ten years and has become a 14 acre blight at the heart of village.

BXB Wolsingham Ltd is currently preparing a comprehensive masterplan for the site which should lead to a planning application within the next 12 months.

During this, first phase of two in the consultation the company has created a questionnaire for residents of Wolsingham and the surrounding area.

The works closed in 1984, but small scale operations continued until its final closure and demolition in 2008.

BXB hopes to bring the land back to productive use.

A spokesperson said: “As specialists in bringing redundant brownfield sites back into productive use we know it’s never a simple task. There can be a lot of cost associated with bringing abandoned sites back to productive use and our first task is to understand fully what lies beneath the surface.

“People have been both helpful and frank and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t yet offered their ideas via our web site to do so.

“Our vision is to bring the site back to productive use in a way that contributes to Wolsingham as a place to live and work and which removes an eyesore from the heart of the village.

“We’ll consult fully on those proposals late in the new year via a public exhibition. We want local people to be able to assess our proposals fully and to ask us any questions they want.”

Durham County Councillor Anita Savoury said: “I live in the village and the site has been derelict for years, it’s an eyesore. Residents would welcome consultation and the opportunity to say what they think should happen to the site.”

Fellow Weardale member, Councillor John Shuttleworth said: “To see the former steelworks site regenerated would be in the best interests of the residents in Wolsingham, so long as they agree following the consultation. It lets the village down in its current state.”