Stockton & Darlington Railway Historic Environment Audit

This report arises from a project jointly commissioned by the three local authorities of Darlington Borough Council, Durham County Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council which have within their boundaries the remains of the Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) which was formally opened on the 27th September 1825. The report identifies why the S&DR was important in the history of railways and sets out its significance and unique selling point. This report provides an action plan and makes recommendations for the conservation, interpretation and management of this world class heritage so that it can take centre stage in a programme of heritage led economic and social regeneration by 2025 and the bicentenary of the opening of the line.

More specifically, the brief for this Historic Environment Audit comprised a number of distinct outputs and the results are summarised as follows:

A - Identify why the S&DR was important in the history of railways and clearly articulate its significance and unique selling point. This will build upon the work already undertaken as part of the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway Conference in June 2015.

B - Determine the time period that covers the unique selling point element of the line – where it was most influential within history (that will be of national and international importance and influence).

C - Provide an audit of what information is available, to identify what gaps there are that need more detailed work/site visits etc.

D - Map out the precise route in chronological order using land registry and planning records where possible.

E - Map out public rights of way around the route as identified in D.

F - Identification and recording (using national data standards), the structures, features and elements of the line were that were developed within the timescales determined in B.

G - Map out current land owners for the full length of the original route as per D.

H - Map out key stakeholders to ensure they are involved where possible in the audit and future work.

I - Audit planning policy across the route as outlined in D to ascertain opportunities and any possible vulnerable sites.

J - Make recommendations in terms of next steps in the interpretation, management and preservation of the trackbed. This is to include the identification of key/vulnerable assets which may require a statement of significance and a timescale for putting in place key documentation such as interpretation plan, management plan etc. To include a project plan and indicative costings for each element.