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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Plans to transform city centre
View of Durham City
The report says there are unique assets to build on
Radical plans to transform a city and put it firmly on the map as a visitor destination have been unveiled.

The 20-year masterplan for Durham City aims to put it on a level footing with popular English cities like Bath, York and Chester.

Consultants have been working to identify the city's strengths and weaknesses and presented the first phase of their findings on Tuesday.

It found the city's assets were not being exploited fully.

In 2003, Durham City and Durham County Councils, One NorthEast, Durham University and the Dean and Chapter came together to look at ways to give the city a facelift.

'Enormous potential'

Between December 2003 and March 2004, consultants carried out research and analysis through surveys with retailers, leisure operators and residents, expert panels and the opinions of a group of 33 "expert users".

Among the strengths identified were the city's heritage, setting, people, learning and its authenticity.

Weaknesses which need to be addressed include a "chronic" underinvestment in marketing and communications, accessibility problems and "mediocre" retail provision.

The consultants set out a series of priorities to increase the length of time and the amount spent by people who visit the city already, encourage people to come back more often and increase the number of people visiting from across the world.

City Council leader Sue Pitts said: "It is a commonly held view that Durham City has enormous potential.

"Of course there have been improvements and developments over the years, now this needs to be taken to the next stage to create a city worthy of World Heritage status."

Monastic bid for world recognition
29 Oct 02  |  England

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