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Monday, May 27, 2024

£22m regeneration scheme to happen in Darlington

By Stuart Minting LDRS

A £22.3m plan to regenerate areas of a North-East market town looks set to take a major step forward with approval of detailed proposals.

Darlington Borough Council’s leading members are set to consider supporting a spectrum of schemes to bring sweeping changes to areas of the borough including North Road, the town centre and around Bank Top after finalising the financing with Government officials.

The transformational programme will follow £1m of environmental changes currently underway in the town centre, focusing on Clark’s and Buckton’s Yards, as well as lighting enhancements, introducing town centre wi-fi and buying properties along Northgate to contribute to the council initiative to create a Railway Heritage Quarter.

It also comes as major works continue to revamp and extend the Victorian Indoor Market and as the authority awaits a Government response to its bid for further funding for a largely residential proposal in the East Street and Crown Street area of the town centre.

A report to the council’s Cabinet details how the authority intends to spend one of the largest sums it has had a degree of discretion over for many years.

In North Road, the funds will be ploughed into buying properties, creating a mixed housing and commercial space development with a private sector partner and improving public areas and green open space.

Alongside supporting heritage assets, funds will be spent on changes to the Linear Park and River Skerne corridor, with safe walking and cycling routes and property developments.

The Government funding will also be ploughed into developing a Rail Heritage Quarter ahead of the 2025 bi-centenary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025, enabling the council to buy properties to link up elements of the project, such as the 26-mile Heritage Action Zone cycle and walking route.

Under the plans, it is hoped to create an adult learning space in the town centre to enable the teaching of new T Level qualifications.

The proposals state the Victoria Road, Bank Top Station and Cattle Mart area will see work to improve roads, shop frontages and public spaces.

Councillor Alan Marshall, the authority’s economy cabinet member, said an assessment of the possible future uses of the Cattle Mart site had indicated it could support between 100 and 160 homes if the full site was built on.

He said any future development could not be completed until the new station gateways are operational and once the proposed multi-storey car park has been built on the east side of Bank Top Station.

Meanwhile, the £22.3m scheme will also see the Skinnergate and Yards areas will see further work to attract more visitors and increase the number of residents.

Cllr Marshall said action to restore a grade II listed building in Skinnergate was progressing again after being slowed by the pandemic.

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