Have your say on how £1.37M should be spent...

Have your say on how £1.37M should be spent...
08 November 2021

We have welcomed a funding boost which will transform the heart of the town centre. Now we want to hear your views on how it will be best spent?

The £1.37M investment secured for Skinnergate and the Yards comes from the Towns Fund, a £3.6bn government pot which aims to level-up funding and opportunities for communities across the country and deliver long-term growth.

Councillors say the funding will help transform the high street into a vibrant hub for future generations which will build on the work that has already been undertaken in the historic Yards.

Now they want to hear your views on proposals at a series of walkabout and drop-in sessions where you can review design inspirations and put forward your own.

Proposals include looking at how Skinnergate and the Yards operate as a public highway and how it looks and feels as a place.

Groundwork NE & Cumbria has been commissioned by the council to provide engagement and design services.

On Thursday 11 November, between 5-7pm, the council and Groundwork will hold the first virtual consultation for stakeholders to review streetscape design inspirations and provide feedback via Zoom. Booking is required.

On Friday 12 and 19 November, between 12-2pm, join a walkaround on Skinnergate and the Yards with a landscape architect to discuss the changes you’d like to see. Booking is required.

On Saturday 13 November, between 10am-2pm, a drop-in session will be held on Skinnergate, outside the Quaker Meeting house, where you can see the mood boards, design inspirations and tell us your thoughts.

On Saturday 20 November, between 10am-2pm, join the groundwork team in the Market Square, outside the Dolphin Centre to discuss the changes you’d like to see.

The Towns Fund programme manager, Chris Mains, said: “We are keen to hear from those who live and work in Darlington and want to hear their views on the current ideas to make sure we work together and achieve the best we can. The project will build upon the work already undertaken within Buckton’s and Clark’s Yards as part of early Towns Fund work. New shopfronts, doors, lighting, planting, WiFi, benches and CCTV installation have been completed in phase one. The latest proposals will develop further on the excitement generated in the Yards, with the Skinnergate creative strategy drawing on exemplar streets elsewhere in the country, while creating a place with a flavour of its own.

“Groundwork will be carrying out extensive engagement to consider improvements to the highway and public realms, and we want the local community to have the opportunity to be involved in the process from the very beginning. Engagement will also be undertaken to consider potential improvement to properties along the street. Working with all, we can deliver an exciting place to be in the town centre.

We want to diversify and create vibrancy and a sense of place, encouraging more people into the centre, to spend more time, and encourage economic growth. Please take part and ensure your views are heard.”

Groundwork programme manager, Lucy Chapman, said:  “We are delighted to be facilitating the public debate about refreshing Darlington town centre and our team has been working in partnership with the council to prepare concept designs and carry out wider public engagement.”

Councillor Alan Marshall, cabinet member for economy said: “This funding will enable the delivery of ambitious regeneration plans drawn up by our Towns Board. The role of the high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are at the beating heart of the local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.

“Darlington continues to be a thriving, vibrant and successful market town. Through targeted capital investment and by taking advantage of our unique passenger railway heritage and our growth potential, we will ensure Darlington has a strong economic and sustainable future which builds on its sense of place and offers opportunities for all.”

The Towns Fund Board chair, Angela Howey, said: “This investment will help transform the town, unlock new jobs, regenerate the high street and level up the region. We’re delighted to have received this significant amount of funding to revitalise our town centre and we hope this news is welcomed by residents and local businesses after what has been a turbulent time.”

Darlington MP Peter Gibson, said: “Rejuvenation, restoration and renaissance of the famous Darlington yards is a symbol of brighter future for Darlington. The innovative Towns Fund projects, investment in Bank Top Station, and the establishment of the Darlington Economic Campus with all lead to more employment opportunities for our Town. I thank all of those involved in this exciting project for helping to put Darlington firmly on the map.”

To book a place at a session please email [email protected] or call on 07929869794

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