• 21 December 2023


WORK on creating a destination leisure outlet in County Durham is getting one step closer, with the news that demolition will begin on the site of STACK Bishop Auckland in January.

Plans were unveiled earlier this year for the creation of a purpose-built, two storey building with a roof terrace on Newgate Street.

And now the company behind the development have revealed that the demolition of the former WH Smith and Mothercare units will begin in January 2024, with a view to building work beginning in March.

Specialist contractors are being brought in, who will demolish the existing buildings by hand, which is seen as the best option in bringing the structures down in the safest manner.

It also allows for many of the materials to be salvaged so that they can be effectively recycled and reused, as well as minimising the disruption to surrounding businesses and to the public.

The project is being managed by North East-based Abbey Construction Services which is working hand in hand with STACK to create the development.

Once completed, STACK Bishop Auckland will offer a range of independent food traders and bars, along with a stage which will be used for a mix of live entertainment.

The project is being supported by the Future High Streets Fund and is part of Durham County Council’s wider regeneration plan to revitalise Bishop Auckland town centre.

Neill Winch, CEO of STACK, is delighted the project is getting underway.

“We are very excited about getting started on STACK Bishop Auckland early in the new year,” he said.

“We have ensured that the process of demolishing the existing buildings is one which may not be the fastest but is certainly one which cause minimum inconvenience to everyone, as well as allowing us to reuse many of the materials.

“We know people are very anxious to see STACK Bishop Auckland open its door and we are now right on course to bring our plans to fruition.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “Our ambitious regeneration plans for the town are now in full swing and we are very much looking forward to welcoming STACK to the high street.

“Visible progress is being made on site as well as across the town as we work with our partners to breathe new life to the area.

“Bringing vacant buildings back into use to create an even more diverse and dynamic offer across the town centre, is just one element of the exciting future for Bishop Auckland.

“We want to shine a spotlight on the town as a vibrant destination, with its food and leisure offer helping to attract local people as well as those from across the county and beyond.”

STACK Bishop Auckland is one of many developments that are currently underway and include STACKS at Durham, Carlisle, Whitley Bay, Lincoln, Northampton, Manchester and two container villages in Newcastle.