Horden residents 'not very confident' regeneration masterplan will succeed

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Residents in an old mining village in County Durham have told ITV News Tyne Tees they are "not very confident" a regeneration masterplan in the area will succeed.

Horden had been put forward by Durham County Council as part of a bid for Levelling Up funding in 2023. The bid would have brought £20m into the village for regeneration, but it was rejected.

The council has managed to secure £6.2m funding from elsewhere to start a regeneration project in the village, but residents are concerned it will only be spent on one street - Third Street.

Claire Wilson, who used to live on Third Street, told ITV News: "I'm not very confident at all at the minute. I mean there’s an awful lot of work that has to be done in here, because it’s just been left for that long.

"I mean, we had one plan and then that plan got scrapped. Then we had another plan and that plan got scrapped, and then now they’ve come with this, and it just seems to be taking an awful long time to move anything on."

Durham Council masterplan to regenerate Horden. Credit: ITV News

She also questioned why the regeneration is only taking place on Third Street, claiming that there are other streets in the village in more need of attention.

Ms Wilson added: "I don’t know why they’re starting there when there’s worst streets in Horden than Third Street. Third Street is quite nice, it’s lovely."

Mark Bond-Webster has only lived in Horden for a year, but has taken a keen interest in the plans for regeneration. He said he is "concerned" about the scale of the masterplan, particularly after the Levelling Up bid failed.

He said: "I’m worried we’re going to get one good street out of this and then be scraping around for decades to come. I don’t think in my lifetime that Horden is going to be magicked back into life."

He added that it makes him very "sad", because Horden has some "really good people and people who’ve spent their whole lives here and it’s a community that, bluntly, desperately deserves a break".

Third Street up for regeneration in Horden. Credit: ITV News

The council said Third Street was chosen for the first phase of regeneration, because it has green land behind the homes, is close to the station and school and will be a more commercially viable prospect for potential partner developers.

The plan will involve demolishing the current stock of houses on Third Street, remodelling them or a mixture of the two and council officials are already speaking with residents in the street about how to relocate them to make it happen.

Mally Gooch, who lives on Third Street, told ITV News he is worried the council will not offer him any money for his home and relocation, because he currently has no electricity, his boiler is now condemned and his dining room ceiling has fallen through after a boiler leak.

He said: "The regeneration that you’re on about could have been done sooner, rather than wait… this might not be the only home in the street. There’s a few empty houses down here, and you don’t know what state they’re in.

"It’s not happening quick enough for me. The sooner they knock this house down (the better). I mean people here, they’re going to get their money for it. (But) I’ll not get anything for that."

Horden homes will either be demolished or remodelled or a mixture of the two. Credit: ITV News

Amy Dufferwiel-Bell from Durham County Council said: "The aim of the masterplan is to create a more sustainable community, different property types so we can create spaces for families to move back into the area, support an ageing population and through this process we’d have more green space, more open spaces, gardens for people, better linkages throughout the village."

Regarding concerns the regeneration will stop at Third Street, she added: "It will make a start and it will show intent and commitment to the area and we’re demonstrating to the local community that we really are committed to regenerating this area and the council want to make a start with that and that’s what we plan to do.

"We are continually seeking alternative funding opportunities, from both the public and private sector to bring forward the future phases as quickly as we can."

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