Money is yet to flood in for town scheme

BURN PLAN DE­LAYED AS COUN­CIL AWAITS FUND­ING

The Chronicle - - News - By KALI LINDSAY Re­porter [email protected]­plc.com @Kal­iALind­say

WORK on a multi-mil­lion pound flood preven­tion scheme in Ch­ester-le-Street is be­hind sched­ule due to a fund­ing bid not be­ing fi­nalised.

Durham County Coun­cil com­mit­ted £1.5m to the £6.2m scheme and ap­plied to the En­vi­ron­ment Agency and Euro­pean Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Fund (ERDF) for the re­main­der of the fund­ing.

The pro­ject was due to start on Novem­ber 12 but a fund­ing bid for £3.2m to the ERDF has not yet been ap­proved.

Coun­cil leader Si­mon Henig said work is sched­uled to be­gin on the scheme in the New Year sub­ject to the fund­ing be­ing ap­proved.

He added: “We have al­ready com­mit­ted £1.5m and I am pleased to con­firm the En­vi­ron­ment Agency has ap­proved its con­tri­bu­tion of £1.8m.

“Our ap­pli­ca­tion to the ERDF is still pro­gress­ing through the Min­istry of Hous­ing, Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment’s eval­u­a­tion process and we hope to ob­tain for­mal ap­proval for the £3.2m fund­ing con­tri­bu­tion in Jan­uary.”

Un­der the plans, a stretch of the Cong Burn would be opened up to in­crease its ca­pac­ity and trans­formed into a pub­lic realm.

The town’s mar­ket will also be re­lo­cated to a new area within the

Mar­ket Place.

Stall­hold­ers were left fu­ri­ous af­ter it was ini­tially pro­posed the his­toric mar­ket would be moved from the lo­ca­tion dur­ing and af­ter the works. Liberal Demo­crat Coun­cil­lor Craig Martin said it was dis­ap­point­ing to hear the fund­ing had been de­layed.

He added: “This is a pro­ject which will ben­e­fit Ch­ester-leStreet and there is no bet­ter place to spend the money.

“Ir pro­tects the town cen­tre from flood­ing and brings nat­u­ral beauty into the mar­ket place.” Coun Martin wants the coun­cil to com­mit to fund­ing the rest of the pro­ject if the EU cash is not se­cured. He added: “I want the coun­cil to en­sure if they can­not se­cure the fund­ing they will cover the cost.”

An artist’s im­pres­sion of how the Ch­ester-leStreet flood preven­tion scheme could look

Coun­cil leader Si­mon Henig

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