Consultations are taking place to consider different options for the redevelopment of Consett’s Middle Street.
There are two main ideas about how the town-centre street could be developed. One plan would break Middle Street up into sections using installations such as trees. The other plan involves having a long strip of artwork running the length of the street.
This artwork would be inspired by Consett’s industrial past and by memories of its steelworks, which closed down in 1980.
Durham County Council is currently talking to landscape architects from the construction company Fairhurst about the different proposals.
A spokesperson for Fairhurst said, “The artwork is inspired by historic photographs of the steelworks.”
“It could include railway sidings to make a pattern in the streetscape.”
The strip-of-artwork proposal would retain access for vehicles at the Christ Church end of the street. The breaking-the-street-up plan would leave the area totally pedestrianised.
Fairhurst are due to deliver a report on the ideas for Middle Street’s redevelopment at the end of March. There will then be further consultations before funding applications are made and the plans are further scrutinised.
Durham County Council’s community economic development manager, Wendy Benson, said, “This is only a concept. It is a huge project and will take a few years to deliver.”
“We really want to do something with Middle Street to encourage people to use it in different ways and use it more.”
Councillor Owen Temple – who attended a recent consultation event at Consett Library – said, “I prefer the option that would have people wandering through the town rather than taking a straight linear route because if we are to make anything of this town it is to become a destination where people want to spend a bit of time rather than hurry through.”
“We need to make Consett attractive in the long term.”