The North-East features heavily on the list of areas receiving funding as part of the governments Future High Streets Fund.

The funding aims to transform high streets into vibrant hubs for future generations and to protect and create thousands of jobs.

Over £830 million from the Future High Streets Fund will be invested in 72 areas including 7 across the North East.

Sunderland City Centre, Bishop Auckland and Blyth Town Centre will get the full funding, receiving, £25,000,000, £19,856,853 and £11,121,059 respectively

Other areas across the North East have received provisional funding offers with Loftus, Redcar and Cleveland proposed £5,833,628, Middlesbrough Centre £14,170,352, Stockton £16,543,812 and South Shields going to get £5,959,187.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said:

“The year ahead will be a big one for the high street as it seeks to recover, adapt and evolve as a result of the pandemic. Today’s £830 million investment from the Future High Streets Fund is one of many ways the government is working to help our much-loved town centres get through this and prosper into the future.

The role of high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.

This investment will help us build back better and make town centres a more attractive place to live, work and visit.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

“We are supporting our high streets to get through this pandemic through business grants, paying people’s wages and tax deferrals.

The Future High Streets Fund will help areas bounce back through regeneration projects that level up opportunities and create jobs right across the country.”

Reacting to the announcement of funding Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We welcome the announcement of an award of £19.9 million for investment into Bishop Auckland town centre following our submission into the Future High Streets Fund. I would like to thank everyone locally who has helped to shape our plans for the future of the town.

This is part of our vision to transform the high street, supporting the conversion of vacant and under used buildings by creating new opportunities for the retail and hospitality sectors, supporting our revival, restoration and recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

A key factor is to ensure the area is accessible with a new bus station and car parks, thereby increasing footfall and providing better links to key visitor attractions in the surrounding areas.

This will attract more visitors and create new jobs, contributing to economic regeneration and ensuring the local community has a town centre they can be proud of.

It is only the start of our plans for Bishop Auckland. Our Towns Fund proposal is also currently out for consultation and due to be submitted by the council at the end of January. Our plan sets out further ambitious proposals for transport infrastructure, investment in digital, employment and training opportunities.”