Project to improve the village centre in Witton Gilbert

Village Centre scheme Highly Commended

Our new village Centre was entered into this year’s County Durham Environment Awards. The prestigious annual awards, now in their 28th year, are organised by County Durham Environment Partnership to celebrate great design, environmental guardianship and community spirit.

This year saw 53 entries from across County Durham and the winning and  commended projects were announced at a ceremony held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Durham on Thursday evening.

Our scheme was a Highly Commended entry in the Places and Spaces category.

Environmental Awards 2017 certificate

Oliver Sherratt, Chair of the County Durham Environment Partnership, said: “These awards are a unique opportunity to celebrate the fantastic achievements of people who dedicate their time to improve the environment in County Durham. Once again we have seen a wide range of excellent projects and I never fail to be impressed by the commitment of those individuals and groups who give up their time to make County Durham a better place for people to live and visit.”

Cllr Simon Henig, Chair of the County Durham Partnership, said: “These awards are a great way to shine a light on those individuals and groups who make a real difference to our county and they should be very proud of their achievements.”




Village Centre: work in progress

The project is progressing very well, with works currently slightly ahead of programme and within budget. This phase is due to be complete at the end of May. We hope that residents are not too inconvenienced by site operations.





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Work to commence on the village centre project

Following a detailed tender process just before Christmas, Landscaping contractor RHD Construction is to be awarded the contract and will be starting some preliminary works within the next couple of weeks.

These  works will consist of some alterations to the trees and shrubs behind the McColls shop. This work will be carried out in advance of the main contract to avoid disturbing birds during the nesting season. The following letter will be posted to adjacent properties in the next few days.

CHD letter SKM_C224e17013011490 (1)

The main contract works will start in mid-March and should take approximately 8 weeks to complete. The contractor is to minimise disruption and maintain access to the shop. Working hours are restricted to 8 am till 6 pm Monday to Friday.

village centre plan SG 4

Village Centre Page

If you have any questions please use the contacts form below.

Village Centre project update

A lot of progress has been made on the Village Centre project in recent weeks, SouthernGreen (the Landscape consultants) have produced the design proposals and landscape details and they are currently compiling the tender documents. The Parish Council have secured £33,000 of additional outside funding  for the project. The pre-tender estimates are on target and the tenders will be returned at Christmas time with work hopefully starting in January. Visit the the Village Centre page to see some of the design sketches and download the master plan.

Village Centre page


Village Centre: Another step closer to reality

A well-attended public consultation event was held at Cooper Hall on Saturday 23 April to give our Landscape Architects SouthernGreen the opportunity to get the residents comments and ideas in an informal venue where opportunities and risks could be discussed face to face.

A short questionnaire was completed by all who attended and the responses and verbal comments will all help to inform the design proposals.

village centre plan SG 4

We would like to thank all those residents who attended and Simon Green of SouthernGreen  for preparing the discussion boards and for his time on a Saturday morning.

Next stage

Following this and the previous consultation events the design team will take the design brief and the residents input and begin to prepare outline design proposal.

So please look out for the next public meeting where these outline designs will be presented.

Consultation Boards

Village Centre: Workshop Event 23 April 2016

Witton Gilbert Parish Council invites you to a public consultation drop-in workshop in relation to improving the land adjacent to McColls .

Your views will inform the proposals before a design is finalised. Come along and let us know what you would like the village centre to include.
The event will be held at Cooper Hall (Community Centre) on Saturday the 23rd of April 2016 between 10am – 1pm

Village Centre Project-leafletVillage Centre Project-2 leaflet

Village Centre Funding

Village Centre Consultation, Funding & Parish Precept 2016 – 2017


The formation of the Parish Plan was launched in October 2009 with a well attended public meeting in the Witton Gilbert Village Hall. The steering committee designed a questionnaire which was sent to every household and establishment in the parish in June 2010. The completed questionnaire was collected through the cooperation of the post office, parish church and shops. There was a disappointingly low but nevertheless significant return. The data was analysed and in January 2011 a second public meeting was held to give the community an opportunity to see the preliminary results and to make further comment. Additionally, local businesses were approached for further input and the Village School and Fyndoune Community College were invited to put forward their views. Following this consultative process, focus groups were set up to look more closely at the individual sections arising from the questionnaire and with a view to developing future strategy. The published plan is derived from the comments arising from the meetings and interviews together with the results of the questionnaire and a copy of the Parish Plan was delivered to every household in the Parish.

The consultation showed that there is a desire for more local shops and the community also expressed a need to provide a focus, a meeting point, a concentration of activity, where the Community could encounter each other, all ages and social groups. There were many comments on the unsightly appearance and siting of the White Tun and options and opportunities to recreate a Village Centre.

A new and attractive Village Centre has been the talk of residents for some time and the Parish Council with the support of the Neighbourhood Plan team held consultation events in Cooper Hall on 30th November 2014, 21st February 2015 & 30th May 2015.

On 19th December 2015 a consultation meeting was held for residents to view and discuss the proposed plans to improve the area around McColl’s new shop. Many people left suggestions on landscaping, access, traffic calming and footpaths particularly linking Durham Gardens and Brookside. The Parish Council have a few legal issues to resolve with McColls and have appointed a design company to take the project forward. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and Parish Council members feel that we must get it right.

Funding the project is an issue and whilst the Parish Precept has not risen for 8 years the Council will have to find a substantial amount of money so an increase this year has been unavoidable. In January this year the Parish Council in creased the precept from £29,500 to £65,500 to provide extra money to fund the design and initial construction works for the scheme to start in 2016 with the remainder of the funding to come from grants and a loan from the Public Works Loan Board, which will be paid back over the coming 5 years

It is estimated that the Village Centre could cost around £120.000 and funding will be sought from the Durham Area Partnership, our County Councillors Neighbourhood Budgets, Section 106 money from the Wallnook Grange development at Witton Station and other sources.

At the Parish Council meeting on 8th February 2016 the Parish Council appointed Southerngreen Charted Landscape Architects to design the Village Centre who from Spring 2016 will be preparing, briefing, consulting and developing a Masterplan ‘Concept Design’ to allow for additional funding bids to be sought and prioritisation of work then the development of a detailed design of the full scheme with a works value of around £120.000, submission of planning and assistance with funding bids through to commencement of work. During this process all residents will be able to participate in design workshops and be able to make a contribution to the final design of the Village Centre Project.