Report by Kris Jepson
Vacant properties in a County Durham town centre will be regenerated in a bid to increase visitors, boost footfall and restore the high street.
Durham County Council will be using £1 million from the government's £19.9 million Future High Streets Fund to help businesses and investors find new uses for vacant buildings in Bishop Auckland.
The fund will help by supporting new and existing businesses to:
Expand into vacant upper floors
Bring more non-retail uses to the town, such as visitor accommodation.
It's hoped by encouraging businesses and investors to convert these vacant buildings, there will be a greater economic boost as a result of the increased levels of spend - aiding economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council's Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "The Property Reuse Fund is just one part of the significant amount of investment and regeneration planned for Bishop Auckland to boost its economic viability and create an even more vibrant and attractive place for people to live, work and visit.