STEP FORWARD FOR SEAHAM: A major regeneration project in Seaham is ready for the next phase
Image from County Durham Council. Cllr Kevin Shaw pictured.
Former railway tracks will be transformed into a public area that celebrates a County Durham town’s heritage as part of the next phase in a regeneration project.
Work has begun this week on the second phase of Durham County Council’s Seaham Townscape Heritage Project, a £1.6m scheme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to enhance Seaham’s historic town centre.
The Seaham Townscape Heritage Project is part of the council’s multi-million-pound Towns and Villages strategy, which aims to enhance the vibrancy of communities across the county by investing in projects that deliver the best possible outcomes for residents and businesses.
Revitalising high streets, whilst preserving their unique heritage, not only benefits those who live and work there but will make towns and villages more appealing to visitors when lockdown restrictions are eased. This will help to boost the takings of local businesses and support the county’s economic recovery. Beginning on Monday, 15 March, this next phase of the project will focus on the old railway tracks at South Terrace, one of the final remnants of the Rainton and Seaham Line. This line was intrinsic in the development of Seaham as a harbour and town when it opened in 1831.
The work will enhance the setting of the old line by exposing the tracks and introducing planting, a seating area, and new sympathetic paving materials. The area will also feature new information panels to provide interesting details on the history of the line and its surrounding area. At various consultation events during the development phase of the Seaham Townscape project, feedback from the public showed South Terrace currently has a confused identity with the current location of the ‘Brothers’ sculpture, a piece depicting three miners to celebrate the town’s mining heritage.
During these works, the Brothers sculpture will be relocated to the Clock Site to the south of North Terrace, which would give it better exposure while opening up the sightlines of the seafront. Following their successful tender submission, Seymour Civil Engineering Contractors have been appointed to undertake the works on behalf of the council, which are estimated to take around 12 weeks to complete. As part of the Townscape Heritage Project, business improvement grants are also available to property owners and occupiers to assist with restoration works, such as repairing and reinstating traditional features and opening currently inaccessible upper floor spaces.
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