Blueprint for city's future

People living in Durham can now see for themselves plans drawn up to shed the city's "Beautiful but Boring" tag and get rid of eyesores.

People living in Durham can now see for themselves plans drawn up to shed the city's "Beautiful but Boring" tag and get rid of eyesores.

An exhibition on the Masterplan for Durham City 2020 Vision has opened at the Durham Tourist Information Centre in Millennium Square, Durham County Hall, and at One NorthEast, based at Stella House, Newburn Riverside, Newcastle.

Displays will run at different locations until October 13 and people will be invited to express their views on the proposals through a website.

The "masterplan" - as it has been dubbed - calls for a more diverse range of traditional shops in the city.

The report also calls for action to remove or transform eyesores such as the former ice rink, the bus station, and The Gate (formerly Milburngate) 60s style concrete shopping centre. Publication of the blueprint follows the establishment in 2003 of the Durham City Centre Steering Group, comprising both the city and county councils, One NorthEast, Durham University and the Chapter of Durham Cathedral, who were charged with developing a new Vision for the City towards 2020.

Proposals include improving the range and types of shopping available; providing a better welcome for visitors and improving the general standard of design in new developments.

Art and craft shops, bookstores, galleries, jewellery and high-fashion boutiques will be encouraged around the Claypath and North Road, in particular.

Coun Fraser Reynolds, leader of Durham City Council, said: "Please look at the Masterplan and see if you are happy with the proposals the Partnership, inspired by your ideas, has brought forward.

"This is a chance to have a further say before we publish the final plan at the end of this year."

The exhibition is on show at Durham Tourist Information Centre, Millennium Place, and County Hall, Durham, until August 31; at Stella House, Newburn Riverside, Newcastle, until September 7; then at City of Durham offices, Annand House, Meadowfield, and Durham University Library, Palace Green, from September 1-15; City of Durham offices at both Claypath and Coxhoe, from September 8 to October 13.

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