Barnard Castle regeneration will lead to 400 new homes

Barnard Castle
Image caption The council wants to entice younger people to live in the Barnard Castle area

Councillors have approved a masterplan for a County Durham town which will lead to new 400 homes and a renewed focus on its centre.

The county council's cabinet agreed the blueprint for Barnard Castle on the day the Olympic torch relay passed through.

It hopes the plan will help improve the town's "vibrant" mix, and entice younger people to live in the area.

Investment will go towards improved parking and supporting hotels to attract tourists.

It is hoped businesses will start new ventures in the town and that more visitors will head for the Bowes Museum.

Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Barnard Castle already boasts a vibrant town centre retail mix which bucks the national trend.

"Vacancy rates in the town are just 4%, compared with 15% elsewhere. We want to build on that."

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