Would you like to see it back? Durham Lumiere light festival set to return

Durham Lumiere Festival 2011. Crown of Light. A son et lumiere at Durham cathedral. Artists; Ross Ashton, Robert Ziegler and John Del' Nero
Durham Lumiere Festival 2011. Crown of Light. A son et lumiere at Durham cathedral. Artists; Ross Ashton, Robert Ziegler and John Del' Nero
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A LIGHT festival looks set to be switched on once more.

The second Lumiere was staged in Durham in November and proved a huge hit with 150,000 visitors, pumping £4.3million into the area’s economy.

But the celebration became a victim of its success, as families struggled to make their way around the city due of the number of people who flooded in to see its 35 artworks.

Now, after a review, Durham County Council has proposed Lumiere makes a third visit in 2013.

In a report to go before senior councillors next week, it says there is a “compelling case” for it to be recommissioned.

However, it has said detailed planning will be put into address the issues around access and crowd management.

Transport, timing, access, signage and stewarding were also highlighted as issues at the last festival, which cost £1.5million to put on.

Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member whose portfolio includes heritage and culture, said the financial boost from the festival was “fantastic” and the three-day event had given the county worldwide coverage.

He added: “While it is clear there are important matters to address, there is an overwhelming call for the council to recommission Lumiere which delivered such a phenomenal return on our investment in 2011.”

The County Durham Partnership Board, the County Durham Economic Partnership, the County Durham Cultural Partnership Board, Durham Cathedral and university have already supported its recommission.

Letters of support were sent by businesses and residents, with praise also going to the community engagement projects run as part of the event.

These included the creation of lanterns by young people, made with the help of professional artists, which were lit and paraded through the streets to launch the first night of the festival.

The Area Action Partnerships also showed widespread support for another celebration. A number said they would like to host satellite installations.

Councillors will consider the report when they meet at Chester-le-Street Civic Centre on Tuesday.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham

THOUSANDS of new homes, regenerated town centres and better transport are proposed as part of a 20-year vision.

The latest County Durham Plan details what schemes could go ahead, looking at what land could be used for and how existing sites could move forward.

The Leamside Line and a new train station for the Peterlee and Horden area are listed.

The report, to also go before the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, focuses on how Seaham can cement its place as a coastal tourist destination.

The document details where new housing could be built. In Seaham, land includes the leisure centre site, Seaham Colliery, Lawnside, a plot north of Portland Avenue, Seaham School, which would be moved under separate plans, and New Drive.

Peterlee’s North East Industrial Estate, Dene House School and Manor Way are also suggested, and Glenhurst Farm and the former council offices noted in Easington Colliery and Village.