Efforts to revitalise Spennymoor’s Festival Walk and marketplace are ongoing, with the commencement of the final stages of the project to create a lively town square.
Durham County Council has acquired two pieces of land along Festival Walk – in front of units 9-25 and units 1-7 – from Hellens Group and Retail Property Ltd to complete public realm works in the town.
Funded by the council’s Towns and Villages Programme and Town Centre Capital Programme, works being carried out in these areas include new paving, bollards, and seating, to enhance the visitor and resident experience.
Bespoke lighting will help create a vibrant atmosphere and be used for special occasions, including bonfire night, Remembrance Day and the town’s Christmas lights switch-on, by projecting images onto pavement and buildings.
The second phase of works will see the acquisition of derelict properties at Cheapside and the final remaining units from the Festival Walk development. This space will be transformed into a town centre walled garden, subject to planning permission.
The third phase will see the demolition of the former library and garage buildings in spring 2024. The library service is now located at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, which is currently being refurbished with upgrades to its swimming pool and the creation of a new children’s soft play area and café.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are committed to transforming our town centres and revitalising communities across County Durham as part of our ambitious Towns and Villages Investment Plan.
“We want to enhance our centres by transforming unused areas, such as empty units, into attractive and vibrant public spaces that support an exciting retail and leisure offer. This, in turn, will help the development of existing and new businesses, which will benefit from the increased footfall.”
In addition to the continued investment from the council, it was recently announced that Spennymoor is one of 55 towns to be awarded £20m from the government over a 10-year period as part of its £1.1 billion Long Term Plan for Towns. This added investment will support the council’s ambition to transform Spennymoor.
As part of the ongoing enhancement works, the council’s community economic development (CED) team is supporting businesses across the county through its retail support packages.
As well as offering financial support, the CED team offers other forms of business support, such as assisting with free retail-based training courses and site acquisition and development.