Bishop Auckland revamp 'will generate £20m a year', report claims

Auckland Castle Image copyright Auckland Castle Trust
Image caption Auckland Castle is the historic home to the Bishop of Durham

The redevelopment of a County Durham town could generate £20m a year for the region's economy and create more than 400 jobs, a report says.

More than £100m is being spent on redeveloping Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland and creating an open-air historical show called Kynren.

The Ernst & Young report, commissioned by the Auckland Castle Trust, suggests the projects will attract 430,000 visitors a year by 2020.

Kynren is due to open on 2 July.

Report author David Smith, said: "The potential economic output for the town, County Durham, and the wider North East is considerable.

'Job opportunities'

"It is refreshing that this regeneration of a historically important market town will be based on predominantly private sector funding.

"The figures in the report are prudent. But we took the view of what could be the optimum outcome, and we said up to £20m a year for the expected total economic impact of all the planned projects.

"However, if they get the support from visitors, retailers and other businesses, then it could be far more."

David Ronn, managing director of the Auckland Castle Trust, said: "This is the first time we've had hard economic data on what the advantages will be.

"The vision since the trust took over Auckland Castle in 2012 has always been to create job and business opportunities for this area.

"The purpose of the independent report is to be clear about what those benefits will be, and to encourage support from those who have an interest in the county and the town."

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