£6m of investment for the regeneration of Horden a step closer

Plans to bring total investment of more than £6 million to kickstart the regeneration of Horden look set to take a step forward, with councillors being asked to support the implementation of the masterplan for the area.

Durham County Council’s Cabinet will next week be recommended to agree to putting the money towards the acquisition of properties on Third Street. This would pave the way for the houses to either be redeveloped to provide high quality housing, demolished and new properties built in their place, or a mix of the two.

Councillors will also be asked to support the authority continuing its efforts to identify funding sources that could finance wider regeneration activity within Horden.

Cllr James Rowlandson, the authority’s portfolio holder for resources, investment and assets, said: “We’re really excited to be on the brink of agreeing the acquisition of properties on Third Street, with the aim of providing a better standard of housing for local people. This will be either through redevelopment, demolition and new build or a mix of these.

“Our ultimate ambition is that our vision for Third Street will improve quality of life for people while acting as a catalyst for more regeneration activity within Horden and helping us to attract outside investment in the community.”

Graham Easterlow, chief executive of East Durham Trust, commented: “Investment in the regeneration of the villages of East Durham is vital. Any work to help improve things is surely a good step in the right direction. East Durham Trust will continue to work with all in our communities to ensure our beautiful part of the world receives the critical investment that is so desperately needed and that community needs are front and centre.”

The meeting at the council’s County Hall headquarters next Wednesday 17 January will receive a report which it will consider in private due to it containing commercially sensitive financial information. The report sets out the Horden Masterplan and the ambition to transform housing provision in Horden.

The long-term goal is to transform Horden’s terraced streets by addressing the number of empty homes, the high numbers of private landlords and supporting those with housing needs.

Cabinet will be reminded how there have been “attempts over the years to address some of the issues including targeted repairs, street cleaning, (the county council’s) Community Action Team interventions, (and) action against anti-social tenants and poor landlords.”

The delivery of the overall masterplan for Horden involves replacing existing housing at the ‘Numbered Streets’ with new homes, as well as improved walking and cycling routes to Peterlee town centre, Horden train station and the Durham Heritage Coast.

Councillors will be reminded that this preferred option has been subject to “extensive” consultation with residents in affected areas and those living nearby. This showed there is “strong support for the demolition and clearance of the Numbered Streets, (and) comprehensive regeneration.”

The report sets out how “significant resources will be required over a prolonged period” to deliver the preferred option in full, with sufficient funding “not yet in place.”

However, it states that the council has committed £6.2m for the purpose of kickstarting regeneration in Horden and demonstrating its commitment to revitalising the community.

A phasing and delivery plan has been developed subject to funding being available. As part of this, ‘Phase 1’ proposes the acquisition of houses on Third Street, funded with the £6.2m, paving the way for either redevelopment, demolition and new build, or a mix of the two.

These proposals were subject to public engagement by the council in September and October of last year.

The county council has drawn up a “comprehensive” rehousing strategy for those affected in the initial phase of acquisition, should it be agreed, and this will explore all available housing options for residents. The report to Cabinet states that the council will work closely with residents to identify their housing needs and requirements for alternative housing and work with residents to find suitable alternative accommodation where appropriate or to assist residents in securing their own accommodation elsewhere.

Cllr Rowlandson added: “We fully appreciate people living in or owning properties on Third Street may have concerns. They can be assured they will be offered support from our housing teams to find alternative accommodation, should the acquisitions go ahead, and that appropriate support will be provided.”

Cabinet is being recommended to agree the masterplan preferred option, the phasing and delivery plan and to proceeding with phase 1 – the acquisition of properties on Third Street.

They will also be asked to “acknowledge that officers will continue to explore all public and private sector funding and delivery opportunities… to continue the delivery of the Masterplan.”