Good turn out for Skinnergate revamp engagement event
An event to highlight proposals to regenerate parts of the town centre has been hailed a success after a strong turnout of people keen to find out more.
Skinnergate, Coniscliffe Road and the historic Yards have been identified as a key project for the Town’s Fund, a wider £23.3m investment for Darlington secured by the council from the Government in 2020/21.
Members of the public, in particular those living and working in Skinnergate and the local area, were invited to an open day event where the plans were on display and officers from the council’s Towns Fund team, as well as representatives from Groundwork, who have supported the landscape design plans, were on hand to talk through the proposals and listen to feedback.
The plans for Skinnergate include adding trees and planters to the length of the street to create a ‘green ribbon’ through the town centre, informal performance spaces and space for pavement cafes and small ‘plazas’ outside key buildings.
Art installations will also be used to highlight the entrance to Darlington’s historic yards, which have already seen a number of improvements thanks to the towns fund, including new seating, planting and lighting and shop frontage redesigns.
Meanwhile Coniscliffe Road will become part pedestrianised, supporting the thriving café culture established by businesses in the street. Part of the existing road will also be turned into a small ‘pocket’ park to bring nature into the area.
Chris Mains, the council’s Towns Fund programme manager, said: “The turn out for the event was really pleasing and we came away with some new ideas, lots of feedback and the sense that people really support the regeneration of Skinnergate and want to see it thrive.
“By setting up shop close to businesses, owners were able to come to us and meet in person. If anyone, locally or from another part of town, would like to speak to us about the scheme, they’re more than welcome to contact us.”
Councillor Alan Marshall, cabinet member for economy, said: “The plans for Skinnergate will transform what has been a neglected part of the town centre over the years. We want it to be a place where people want to visit and spend time and, by extension, support local businesses.
“I’m really pleased to hear there was a strong turn out for the event and that people came along in a positive spirit and with an open mind.”
The Skinnergate and the Yards projects will complement and extend current regeneration schemes including the wider town centre, Northgate and Victoria Road, including around the west of the train station.
For more information about the Towns Fund, and contact details for the team, visit www.darlington.gov.uk/townsfund