Northgate regeneration plans start with purchase of vacant plot
A brownfield plot of land that was once part of the famed formal gardens to the rear of the Pease family home has been bought by the council, one of the first steps in regeneration plans for the Northgate area.
The Connecting Northgate project, part of the wider £23.3m Town’s Fund programme for Darlington’s town centre and key gateways, aims to assist in regenerating the area and create a strong link between the town centre and the Head of Steam railway museum, which is itself undergoing a multi-million pound revamp to develop a Rail Heritage Quarter.
The Pease family, who were instrumental in much of Darlington’s industrial past, owned a large property on Northgate, with a huge formal garden to the rear.
The gardens – which give the area its current name – covered what is now the long-stay car park and surrounding development, down to the River Skerne and beyond.
The newly-purchased plot of land on Garden Street has been vacant for several years after the demolition of the previous building there. It has since been adopted by local people who have looked to maintain it as a wildlife garden.
The council has bought the land using the Town’s Fund funding to ensure it can be used in the long-term in the wider regeneration of the Garden Street area.
In the short term, the aim is to use the site as a community urban garden, with funding available for further work, to bring the community together and create a group of people interested in the heritage and redevelopment of the green space.
Angela Howey, chair of the Town’s Fund board, said: “The history of the Garden Street area and its links to the Pease family are fascinating. Looking at it now it’s hard to believe this little patch of land was once home to flower beds and a summer house as part of the much larger formal gardens, but with the regeneration plans we have for this area I hope we can once more make it a key part of Darlington’s future.”
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “Northgate is a key gateway into Darlington town centre but it has been neglected over the years. The main aim of what we’re doing with the Town’s Fund is to bring the glory days back to this part of town, make the most of its heritage assets and tie it in with the 2025 Stockton and Darlington Railway bicentenary celebrations.
“This may only be a small plot of land but it’s a step in the right direction for our ambitious plans to open up access to the riverside, create new housing opportunities in the heart of town and add more urban green space.”
The initial proposals for the Connecting Northgate project are available to view on our website at: https://www.darlington.gov.uk/business-and-licensing/town-centre/connecting-northgate/