The regeneration of a County Durham town is continuing to buck the national trend as a new store gets ready to open its doors.
Home Bargains, on Clifford Road in Stanley, will open in July and has recently started its recruitment process.
The shop will provide a range of employment opportunities and is just one of a number of ongoing developments in the town, with construction of a new Aldi store underway and McDonalds also announcing new premises within the retail park.
The developments are the latest to come forward following the creation of a town centre masterplan, which set out how Durham County Council and key partners would look to improve the fortunes of Stanley.
Initially focussed on creating a more usable and accessible space with improved seating and new energy efficient lighting within the town, the programme of investment is set to continue with the completion of improvements on Front Street and an extension into the Clifford Road retail park.
As well as work to encourage new investors, existing businesses have also received support through the council’s Targeted Business Improvement scheme, which provides funding to help them expand or improve their premises as well as providing specialist retail advice and access to training.
In the past three years, eight businesses in the town have received this support which has led to four vacant premises being brought back into use and the creation of five new jobs, along with the safeguarding of many more. The next property to benefit from this support is the former Berties Bar on Front Street, which has stood empty since a fire caused significant damage.
Eighteen businesses also benefited from the Stanley Retail Improvement Project, which was funded by the Area Action Partnership and saw improvements to window displays and shop fronts to give a more vibrant feel to the town centre.
Stanley is also set to benefit from an enhanced digital presence and now has a town centre website, hosted by the AAP and focused on promoting businesses and events across the town.
Businesses have also been able to access free digital marketing training and the next steps of the project will see Stanley, alongside Bishop Auckland, host an initiative that will offer free public Wi-Fi across the town centre.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We are delighted that these businesses have decided to invest in Stanley, improving the town’s retail offer, providing an economic boost and creating job opportunities for local people.
“We have also worked hard to ensure existing retailers get the help and support they need to thrive and we will continue to build on these important relationships as part of our ongoing commitment to town centre regeneration.”