Money is yet to flood in for town scheme
BURN PLAN DELAYED AS COUNCIL AWAITS FUNDING
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
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