Residents of Bishop Auckland are being invited to help shape the future of its town centre.

The new Brighter Bishop Auckland partnership has organised a public consultation event next Monday 31 July at which people will have the chance to contribute to the production of a masterplan for the heart of the town.

The partnership comprises statutory, voluntary and community agencies namely Durham County Council, Auckland Castle Trust, Eleven Arches, South Durham Enterprise Agency, Bishop Auckland College, Bishop Auckland Town Council and Historic England.

The new body is chaired by the Bishop of Durham The Rt Reverend Paul Butler.

The aim of the partnership is to bring about and co-ordinate development in the heart of Bishop Auckland with a view to improving its economic performance, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of its heritage, and social and spiritual life.

The new body is to produce a masterplan for the town centre which will be based on the following vision:

“An ambitious, long term strategic framework for the town centre based on a deliverable masterplan which balances the needs of residents, businesses, visitors and investors alike, to enable the town and its community to capitalise on the opportunity presented by current and emerging developments.”

Members of the public will have the chance to discuss, and comment on, the future of the town centre at the consultation event which takes place at Bishop Auckland Town Hall from 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

Their views will be considered in the production of the masterplan with those producing it on hand at the event to answer any questions and talk through the project.

Further public consultation will take place in the autumn with the masterplan set to be published in December.

Cllr Simon Wilson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet support member for economic development, said: “We are very excited at the prospect of what Brighter Bishop Auckland can achieve for the town centre but of course we really want to reflect the views of residents in everything the partnership does.

“I’d encourage anyone who wants to help shape the masterplan, which will be a very important document for the town centre, to come along on Monday.”

For further information visit: www.durham.gov.uk/brighterbishopauckland

People will be able to give their views on the future of Bishop Auckland town centre by taking part in a survey on this web page after the consultation event has taken place on Monday.