A £175,000 investment is set to give visitors to Durham City access to dozens of new spaces at one of its main park and ride facilities.
Regional employer The Banks Group has submitted a planning application to Durham County Council for creating 71 new spaces at the Howlands park & ride site, to the south of the city, as part of its ongoing development of the nearby Mount Oswald site.
The project is part of the £4.2 million that has been allocated by Banks as part of the Mount Oswald scheme to pay for substantial improvements for the local area which will also include a £2m contribution to Durham County Council for off-site affordable housing, £250,000 towards a new community building at Lowes Barns, and a contribution towards providing additional classrooms at two local schools, St Oswald’s Church of England and Durham St Margaret’s Primary.
The Howlands planning application has been developed in consultation with the County Council and local transport providers, and is expected to be decided by the autumn, with a view to the three-month build being completed in early 2017 if approved.
The buses that travel between Howlands and the centre of Durham City will eventually enter and pick up passengers from the Mount Oswald site once the required infrastructure for them to do so is in place.
The park & ride improvements form part of the Mount Oswald scheme’s overall travel plan, which is being implemented and shaped by a dedicated travel plan coordinator.
Residents moving into the new homes that are now being built on the site receive a travel pack containing detailed information on different travel options around the site and the city, as well as a free one month bus pass and a cycle pack to help encourage them to leave their cars at home.
John Ruddick, senior property development manager at The Banks Group, says: “As part of the planning permission for Mount Oswald, it was agreed that these improvements at Howlands would be put in place when the 100th home was built on the site, but while we’re currently still some way off reaching this point, we decided to get things moving earlier than this to ensure the facilities are in place in good time.
“Careful transport planning for both the site and the wider local area was a central part of the development of the wider Mount Oswald scheme, and having a travel plan coordinator in place to translate the agreed ideas into practical action is giving it real momentum.
“The new spaces at the Howlands park & ride will increase the parking options available to people working in or visiting Durham City, and will help to further reduce the traffic that enters the city.”
The Mount Oswald scheme, which was designed by Banks in support of the County Council’s vision of Durham City acting as a driver of economic growth in the county, will see around 120 people employed on site during its construction phase, with an additional 100 jobs across the supply chain and up to a further 164 permanent jobs supported by the different elements of the completed development.
Over the last 18 months, more than half of the 60 homes planned by North East housebuilder David Wilson Homes for the first phase of the Mount Oswald site have been built, and the first few families have now moved in.
John Ruddick adds: “The Mount Oswald site is beginning to become the high quality project that we originally envisioned, and we expect progress to follow on several other aspects of it during the rest of 2016.
“There’s a great deal of local interest in the work that’s being undertaken at Mount Oswald, and a long-established Durham-based family business, we are proud to be taking forward an excellent scheme which will have long-term positive implications on many levels for both the city and the wider region.”