Car park paves the way for sports hub expansion
Darlington Borough Council has started work on the Blackwell Meadows Community Sports Hub car park – which is the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’ in the current expansion works at the site.
Darlington Rugby Club, the Council and Darlington Football Club are carrying out a three-pronged programme of expansion and improvement at the Blackwell Meadows ground – including new stands, upgrades to the changing rooms and a new car park.
Darlington Borough Council is supporting the project by providing a 250-space car park, which will be open to all community sports hub users. This car park is joint-funded by the Council and Sport England.
Weather permitting, work on the car park is expected to be completed within four weeks. Subject to the successful completion of the improvements and the necessary safety certificates and FA approval being obtained, ground-sharing between the two clubs could begin in December.
Darlington FC has been playing its home games at Heritage Park, home of Bishop Auckland FC, following a fans’ takeover in 2012.
Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “It’s pleasing to see such great progress being made on the improvements to the Blackwell Meadows community sports hub, which I’m sure will lay the foundations for a long and successful partnership between the two clubs. All the infrastructure is in place for future growth. I will be proud to welcome Darlington FC back to the town, back where they belong, and I know I won’t be alone in that respect.”
Darlington FC director John Tempest said: “The car park is the final piece in the stadium jigsaw here at Blackwell Meadows and everyone at the football and rugby club was delighted to see the work start. A huge thanks to the team from the Council, who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
Michael Wilkinson, chairman of Darlington Rugby Club, said: “The new car park, and the other exciting developments that are taking place, will enable more people to access the facilities on offer here and boost sports participation across the board.”