Businesses wanting to join in the exciting opportunities coming to Bishop Auckland can have a glimpse of the future at two premises in the town centre.

From left to right, Paul Murphy from Shop Jacket, Alan Anderson from the Bishop Auckland Town Team, Ann Cooper of Auckland Castle Trust, Mayor of Bishop Auckland Cllr Lee Brownson and our Cabinet member for economic regeneration Cllr Neil Foster.

A vacant shop and a development site on Newgate Street have been covered with ‘shop wraps’ to show potential owners what they could look like. One has been made to look like a florist’s with the other an art gallery which will feature regularly updated images from the Auckland Castle Trust’s range of exciting projects for the area.

The project, which we’ve funded, is a result of the partnership work between ourselves, the town council, Auckland Castle Trust and the Bishop Auckland Town Team to continue the regeneration of the town.

Cllr Neil Foster, our Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “The shop wraps are the latest in our ongoing partnership work to transform Bishop Auckland. The wraps improve the look of the whole street and will hopefully encourage even more new businesses to come to the town by really showing potential owners what they could look like.”

Exciting developments

Ann Cooper, head of communications for Auckland Castle Trust, said: “As well as improving the look of an empty town centre property it also means we can keep local residents up to date with all the exciting developments as the projects move forward. We’ll be changing the panels in the gallery every three or four months so keep looking to see the latest pictures and news.”

The project is one of a number of schemes designed to improve the town centre and encourage and support local businesses. Durham County Council is also offering businesses in the area investment funding of up to £10,000 to contribute towards projects to improve premises.

Recent figures reveal that the number of empty retail units fell by 14 in the last 12 months in Bishop Auckland’s main shopping areas.