Work to create a modern and vibrant new bus station for Durham City is set to press ahead after a multi-million pound funding package was approved.
The North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC) has allocated £3.6m towards the overall £10.4m scheme following a successful bid from Durham County Council.
The funding will be of vital importance in supporting the recovery of the local economy and the transport sector following the impact of coronavirus.
In March 2020, the North East region was awarded £198m from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund to aid the delivery of sustainable transport capital measures and the bus station project is the first scheme in the North-East to benefit from the funds, with the additional £6.8m provided by Durham County Council.
By securing the funding, plans for the bus station can now progress with works expected to start in mid-February.
The 18-month project will see the reallocation of bus stops onto North Road and Millburngate in mid-February, with demolition of the existing bus station, which is in North Road, starting soon after.
Following this, construction of the new bus station should start in the spring with the site expected to open in late Summer 2022.
The new development will provide a welcoming transport hub for Durham City with a significant increase in the amount of space for passengers, improved toilet and baby changing facilities and a design which focuses on improved security.
The station will also fit within the historic nature of its surrounds and include a range of sustainable materials; as well as being fit for future greener transport options.
Many of the design features incorporated into the new station are in response to feedback received from a consultation in 2019, when the council asked members of the public what they felt should be done to improve the facility.
The new station is a key part of the wider programme of developments around the city, including Riverwalk and Millburngate, with the aim of improving the economic prosperity of Durham City as well as transport infrastructure and links to towns and villages across the county.
It will help support businesses in their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by attracting visitors to Durham via the station, and also increase footfall into the city centre to support the city’s independent retailers, its hospitality sector, and its indoor and outdoor markets.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, who also represents Durham on the North East JTC and is the North-East board member for Transport for the North (TfN), the North’s statutory transport body, said: “We’re delighted that the project has been able to secure this new funding and that plans can progress as expected.
“Durham City has long needed a new and improved, state-of-the-art bus station and once finished the site will provide a much better welcome to the city for visitors, commuters and residents alike.”