Report shows how town centre is on the right track
A Government-commissioned report on the future of town centres makes encouraging reading for Darlington.
Much of the advice put forward in Sir John Timpson’s report, published in December 2018, is line with the approaches being adopted in Darlington.
The report recommends a number of measures local authorities and communities can take to address the challenges faced by town centres across the country.
At the heart of the report is the message that high streets and town centres need to become a focal point for people to take part in a broad variety of other activities – including culture, events and leisure – rather than just shopping.
It also recommends increasing the number of residential properties in town centres, as well as improving the quality and availability of office space.
Councillor Chris McEwan, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration, said: “It is very encouraging that both the short-term measures and long term ambitions of Darlington Borough Council are aligned with the recommendations of the report.
“We have developed an exciting events calendar for 2019 and have worked closely with retailers and other stakeholders to ensure they are involved as much as possible.
“We are working with land owners to develop plan for empty buildings and derelict pieces of land to bring forward residential, business and leisure opportunities.
“Sir John Timpson said he was more hopeful for the future of town centres by the time he had finished gathering evidence for his report than he had been at the start of the process.
“That’s encouraging and reinforces my strong belief that, by working together with a range of different stakeholders for the good of Darlington, we can ensure our town centre continues to thrive for future generations.”
Early ideas on plans and proposals to revitalise the town centre through targeted investment in key areas was discussed by Cabinet members at a meeting on Tuesday (8 January).
Sir John Timpson has more than 50 years’ retail experience as owner of the Timpson chain of shoe repair and key cutting specialists.
The report can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-high-street-report