Town Centre Strategy and Masterplan

Riverside Park at Feethams is now open.

The developing Local Plan identifies the Town Centre Fringe a priority location for brownfield development and regeneration within the Borough, and significant development activity started in 2016. The Fringe is an extensive area: over 70ha of land, buildings and roads, much of which is underused. It contains a mix of employment, residential, retail, leisure, car parking and other uses, and much of the area’s housing is occupied by deprived households. The area of the Town Centre Fringe as identified in the Local Plan 2016-36 is more limited than the Council’s wider Town Centre Fringe Masterplan area.

The Fringe has a lot going for it - easy to get to by several modes of transport, close to the Town Centre, containing key buildings like the Civic Theatre (which is currently been renovated to be opened as the New Hippodrome in late 2017) and other heritage assets, and with the River Skerne flowing through it. It is also very visible, from local roads and the east coast main line. The Bank Top Station Masterplan created in 2016 overlaps with the Town Centre Fringe area but synergies of development will be considered.

The River Skerne was also identified as a strategic green infrastructure corridor. However before the potential of the area to contribute much more to the growth, prosperity and quality of life of Darlington can be realised, there are significant issues to overcome, such as managing flood risk, changing the image of the area, improving defences against contamination and hazard, and improving connectivity across the inner ring road. Considering the area comprehensively provides the best way to ensure that both public and private investment is made effectively and in a timely and co-ordinated manner. Currently work with the HCA and the Tees Valley Combined Authority are ongoing to address funding gaps and ownership issues.

Further information on the Town Centre Fringe Masterplan, agreed by Cabinet in April 2013 can be seen within Item 10 of the following cabinet paper.

At the Cabinet in April 2013, the Council also agreed a Conservation Management Plan for the Town Centre Fringe.