Smart Stanley

What is the idea?

  • To propose an innovative approach to using digital technologies to improve the Stanley Town Centre experience.


  • The rise of digital services and online trading is often seen as a threat to the high street as trade is drawn away from traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ outlets to online shops.
  • Digital services however offer much more than online trading, such as the ability to provide information, promote business and visitor attractions as well as market locations.
  • New technologies therefore can perhaps be used to improve the lot of the town centre by promoting available facilities and enhancing the visitor experience.
  • The highest priority for the council is ‘Altogether Wealthier’. Improving the economic position of Durham is paramount to underpinning all of the other priorities that the council wishes to achieve.
  • Improving the centres of the principle towns in Durham fits well into this priority as improved footfall will improve business turnover, lead to more jobs in retail and improve the economic position of the County.


  • According to the Stanley Destination Development plan, developed by Visit County Durham: Stanley is a small market town in North West Durham. It sits in a rural setting on the edge of the Durham Dales which are to the west and approximately 6 miles from the county’s main transport artery, the A1M, to the east.
  • It is very close to a number of the county’s significant tourism assets including Beamish Museum, Diggerland and the coast to coast cycle route and a number of well-regarded small family visitor attractions, small independent accommodation providers and pubs offering quality food. It is well served by buses linking Stanley to the Newcastle Gateshead conurbation and the county town Durham City.
  • The town does not have a long history of welcoming visitors but with a new master plan that aims to revive its fortunes, the local community is looking at how it can maximise the benefits associated with tourism and encourage visitors to spend some of their disposable income in the town. If successful this will improve the viability of local businesses and in the future attract private sector investment that could create new businesses, new jobs and in turn grow the offer of the town.
  • The town also features in the BBC television series George Gently
  • Their are four opportunities for Stanley listed in the Stanley Destination Development plan: culture hub, value shopping cluster, events, services and provisions for visitors.  All of these could be improved or supported using digital technologies.
  • Their are an additional four challenges for Stanley listed in the Stanley Destination Development plan: civic pride, vacant land and buildings suffering from fire damage and dilapidation, a town that looks in on itself, a cold and hard townscape that is difficult to navigate.
  • Digital technologies could improve and support civic pride and a town that looks in on itself.

Useful groups

  • There are several groups in existence which could be useful in supporting any drive towards using digital technologies to improve Stanley town centre including:
    1. Stanley AAP
    2. Stanley trader’s asscoiation
    3. Town Council
    4. Havana partnership
    5. Master plan steering group
    6. Stanley positive action group
    7. Stanley events CIC
    8. DCC Arts team
    9. Academy, St Joseph’s
    10. Members
    11. Louisa Centre, youth café, Tommy Armstrong
    12. Sure start
    13. 3 churches, United reform church group
    14. Residential groups (not sure if there are any)
    15. Credit union
    16. Derwentside Homes, Prince Bishops,
    17. Beamish, Tanfield railway,
    18. Barclays
    19. Dessert Heaven – Rachel
    20. Cameron’s pubs
    21. Training providers


  • The following potential ideas to use digital technologies to improve Stanley town centre are:
    1. Free WiFi in the high street – make it public from town hall, job centre,
    2. Information on availability of broadband
    3. Parking availability
    4. Social media, news
    5. Digital maps
    6. Online offers
    7. Stanley App
    8. Coast to coast improved digital signage
    9. QR codes, local amenities
    10. Historic trails and walks
    11. Virtual tour of planned town development
    12. 360 degree market
    13. Google Street View
    14. Hospitality, restaurants, Imperial
    15. Bargain hunters
    16. Click and collect

If you are interested in helping please get in touch.

Update as of 29 July 2016:

The new web sit will be officially launched in early September just prior to the Stanley AAP meeting and work has started on enabling WiFi within the town.

6 thoughts on “Smart Stanley

  1. Unfortunately you are bit to late with that idea 🙂 it is all done and dusted you should research the market around the area before getting credit for anything

  2. I am sorry to say that I struggled to see what you were actually proposing….I read the words but couldn’t get a picture of what exactly a Digital Stanley would look like, other than it having Broadband. What does it really mean for Stanley , you make it sound a bit like creating “VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE”. The post could have been a little less wordy and a lot more factual/informative considering you are a strategic thinker.

      1. That website does not exist. I am afraid people will not help or take an interest if everything is so cloudy, or difficult to understand.

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