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Agenda item

Stockton and Darlington Railway Bicentenary Celebrations - Overview:

(a)       Joint Report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships and the Corporate Director of Regeneration and Local Services

(b)       Presentation by Steve Howell, Head of Culture and Sport, Regeneration and Local Services


Members considered the joint report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships and the Corporate Director of Regeneration and Local Services that provided Members with an update of the programme of celebrations for the Stockton and Darlington Railway Bicentenary (for copy of report, see file of minutes).


Mr Howell, Head of Culture and Sport was in attendance to present the report and deliver the presentation (for copy of slides, see file of minutes).


Following the presentation the Chairman commented that a lot of work has already been undertaken to develop proposals for the bicentenary celebration he then asked Members for their questions.


Councillor Kay referred to the 150th anniversary, which was celebrated in 1975 and had been held at Shildon and asked if the 200th bicentenary anniversary would be dispersed up and down the track or would the celebrations be located in one central place and venue.


The Head of Culture and Sport responded that discussions had centred around Darlington taking the role of the arrival place for the celebrations then Stockton would be the location for the engineering base and then the heritage and celebration base would be located at Locomotion however currently nothing has been finalised.


Councillor Kay then commented that in his opinion Stockton and Darlington Railway should be a World Heritage site. He then commented that there is a need to look at the cycling infrastructure, with work required on the final link from Shildon to Bishop Auckland to ensure that the celebrations are accessible to everyone including cyclists.


The Chairman commented that a previous meeting of the committee had looked at cycleways in the County and that a further progress update would be included in the committee’s future work programme.


The Head of Culture and Sport responded that Durham County Council is currently undertaking work on the cycleways and walkways along the railway track. In relation to World Heritage status this has been discussed however it had been agreed that it was not the right time. It is proposed that World Heritage status will be pursued following 2025.


Councillor Milburn referred to other railway assets within the County, which could be tied into the celebration package such as the Causey Arch and asked if Visit County Durham would be looking at this.


The Head of Culture and Sport commented that other railway assets will be added into the total celebration offer.


The Chairman referred to the infrastructure and highlighted the need to ensure that there is the mix of accommodation and transport to meet the requirements of visitors attending the celebrations. The bicentenary will be a huge boost for the area however it is recognised that we are currently in the early stages of discussion.


The Head of Culture and Sport commented that the bicentenary celebrations will be an event of significance.


Councillor Batey referred to Beamish Museum and asked whether they had been approached to loan some of their artefacts to contribute to the celebration events.


The Head of Culture and Sport confirmed that discussions had taken place and that they were supporting the celebrations.


The Chair asked Mrs Pemberton as to whether she would like to make any comments to the committee. Mrs Pemberton commented that she had become involved in railway heritage when she became a Durham County Council member and that she was passionate about seeing steam restored to our railways. She continued that she is incredibly encouraged by the work undertaken by Durham County Council to date although there is more work to be undertaken.


The Chairman thanked Mrs Pemberton for all her work.


Resolved: That a further progress report be included in the 2019/20 work programme together with a tour of the Locomotion site.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714