Darlington station improvements
Tees Valley Combined Authority, in partnership with the Council, Network Rail and LNER, is planning a comprehensive improvement project at Darlington station and the Council is leading on the development of land immediately to the east and west of the existing station (the Neasham Road side and the Victoria Road side).
The project will deliver the biggest transformation of the station area in decades providing modern, pedestrian-friendly travel interchanges for the town and the wider region.
In brief, these plans will transform the access to create an expanded mainline station through
- The creation of new travel interchanges and a new multi-storey car park,
- The promotion of sustainable travel through priority enhancements for pedestrians and cyclists,
- The creation of gateway approaches and public realm that reflect the economic ambitions of Darlington and the wider Tees Valley region,
- Linking Central Park and the Town Centre with the station more effectively through an improved environment to attract more visitors and businesses to Darlington and
- Paving the way for improved train services at Darlington as a key east coast mainline station that improves regional and national connectivity.
On 8 June formal planning applications were submitted for the east and west gateways to the station and links to the applications can be found below.
- Station gateway east planning application
- Station gateway west planning application
- Listed building consent application
Why is this work needed?
Darlington is a key station on the East Coast Mainline, providing access to and from London, Newcastle, Edinburgh and other national destinations as well as access to the Tees Valley. Darlington is currently a congested station, which impacts on the train services and without investment has no capacity to accommodate more trains. To enable the growth in train services in the coming years, improvements are required.
Work has identified that an additional station building is required on the Neasham Road side of the East Coast Mainline to accommodate both east-bound local and London-bound services. This development will require new platforms, a further station building, parking and an interchange for passengers. In parallel to this, improvements within the existing station building are also being planned by Network Rail.
In order to upgrade and future-proof Darlington station, funding is being sought from central government alongside funds already committed by The Combined Authority (TVCA).
East gateway (Neasham Road) proposals
- A new station building with platforms serving local and national lines
- A multi-storey car park
- Transport interchange and cycle facilities
- Landscaped pedestrianised areas
- New footbridge into the existing station building
- Improvements to Neasham Road
The final design will look like
View looking southwest (from Neasham Road) - from the interchange towards the new station and multi-storey car park
View looking southwest towards the new station entrance
View looking north-west from Neasham Road - showing the multi-storey car park in the foreground and interchange beyond
View looking southeast from above the rail lines - showing the new station building
Plan of the east gateway [pdf document]
The new platforms will allow for an increase in train numbers and quicker journey times to other parts of the region and beyond, helping improve journey times.
The station will offer new eateries and shops with modern ticketing and information services.
The transport interchange will help to provide an easier way to access the station, connect to other transport such as local buses and encourage more sustainable travel with the inclusion of cycle lanes and shelters.
The multi-storey car park will be built over the new station building and will offer secure parking for over 600 cars, with bespoke spaces for different users and provide electric car charging points. This will consolidate the existing station parking, ensuring facilities are fit for the future.
West side (Bank Top) – what is proposed?
- New road layout to improve pedestrian safety
- Redesign of the portico station car park
- A pedestrianised concourse in front of the building entrance
View east from Victoria Road to the portico entrance – layout of street furniture and public realm are subject to change
Plan of the west gateway [pdf document]
The proposed plans for the west side will offer a complete transformation of this area, by creating an impressive second entrance to Darlington station befitting of a major transport hub and a modern and safe environment for station users.
It is proposed that the sharp right hand bend at the top of Victoria Road be “smoothed out” to allow for better visibility for pedestrians and two-way traffic approaching the station, removing what is now a blind corner. These improvements using the same materials and style being used for Victoria Road will greatly enhance the public realm and the setting and views of the historic, Victorian station entrance.
There will be no vehicle access to the main station portico area in future. This change, along with wider pavements and a pedestrian concourse area in front of the station, will give station users a safer way to enter and exit the station on foot or bicycle.
The redesign of the portico car park next to the station entrance will allow for short stay vehicles; and alongside improved drop off and pick-up points, new bus stops will improve accessibility for all.
Darlington station gateway compulsory purchase order 2021
Underpinning the scheme is the land assembly strategy which includes the Council making a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the land required to deliver the gateway schemes.
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is currently considering the CPO and the objections made by some affected parties. It is anticipated that a public inquiry will be held at the end of this year where further representations by the Council and objectors will be heard by an inspector. The inspector will then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for DCLG on whether to confirm the CPO or not to confirm the CPO.
The Council’s preference is to acquire property by agreement and a large number of properties have been acquired this way. It is appreciated that this is a sensitive matter and can be unsettling for residents and local businesses affected. The Council has been in contact with all affected parties over the course of the last 18 months to advise how an acquisition by agreement of their property can be facilitated.
Further detail on the CPO the can be found here. Darlington Borough Council - Darlington Station Gateway compulsory purchase order 2021.