A businessman has backed plans for a new theme park near Auckland Castle.
Jonathan Ruffer is already well known in Bishop Auckland as the philanthropist, who invested £25m in the castle in 2012, transferring it to a charitable trust.
Now he is putting up another £2m for the project, called Eleven Arches, after a nearby bridge.
By 2016, a light show will illuminate the land next to the castle, telling the story of British history, in a similar way to the London Olympic opening ceremony. It will involve 600 local volunteers and will be a not-for-profit venture.
"The community is at the heart of the project. If you do a show with people being paid to do a show, what you have is a show. That's not the vision. "What we're trying to achieve is to bring people together behind a very inspiring pursuit, a joint pursuit."
By 2024, even more could be added, including a daytime theme park, which will be a commercial business and could create up to 300 jobs.
Eventually, it could bring 800,000 visitors to Bishop Auckland.
"Bishop Auckland is of a size where I think it is possible to make a difference to the whole community, and it is big enough that if you could, then one's done something really worthwhile."