Work on a flagship regeneration scheme in Darlington has begun that will see the development of new homes, office and retail space, green and formal open spaces as well as the creation of hundreds of new jobs.
The scheme, which has taken five years to come to fruition, is being developed by Darlington Borough Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) working in partnership with housing and regeneration specialists, Keepmoat Homes.
The first phase of construction on the Central Park development in Darlington will see 332 new homes built including 20-homes for affordable rent, a major new park, water features and ponds.
Regeneration and housing specialist, Keepmoat Homes, has completed contracts with the Council and HCA and will deliver the residential element of the project. The first phase of the development also includes space for a local centre which will be located at the northern gateway and the Council intends to market this once the residential development has gained momentum.
The £170million 30-hectare development is located close to the town centre, off Haughton Road near the main railway station. The main site entrance is beside Darlington College and Teesside University.
The second phase of the development will also see the creation of hundreds of new jobs for local people, around 300,000 sq ft of prime office and retail floorspace, a hotel as well as a further 180 new homes.
On the South of the site, new office space will be provided in a state of the art business incubation accommodation for new and growing small to medium sized businesses in Darlington, located within the Central Park Enterprise Zone.
The facility, which will provide sufficient space for up to 52 businesses, will be part-funded by the HCA and funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme. Construction of this flagship building is anticipated to start in Spring 2014.
Structural road works have already commenced, which will see improvements to the main entrance and the creation of a new roundabout next to the college and university buildings.
Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said:
“This marks the fruition of ten years of concerted efforts by the Council and partners to bring into being this flagship development for the town. It also demonstrates that, even in these difficult economic times, Darlington is seen as a key location for investment.
“Central Park is Darlington’s premier regeneration site and one of the most prominent development opportunities in the North East creating a new community living and working in the heart of the town.”
Neil Graham, Head of Capital Development at the Homes and Communities Agency said:
“It is great to see development start on this key site since it marks the culmination of years of effort by all the partners to ensure that Darlington has not only the homes but also the jobs that local people need.
“The homes that Keepmoat are building will complement the employment Incubator which received funding last month.“
The Worshipful the Mayor, Councillor Charles Johnson, said:
“I am so pleased to be here to herald this new development, this partnership will create many jobs and add a new phase to the ever changing scene of the town centre with additional commercial premises and new housing, positively demonstrating that Darlington is prepared for the future and the benefits that it will bring.”
Richard Bass, New Build Managing Director at Keepmoat, said:
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Darlington Borough Council and the HCA on this flagship multi million pound development in centre of the town.
“In recent years, the partnership has overcome a series of challenges to get to this point and it is great to see work starting at last and new jobs being created.
“This exciting new development will not only provide high quality, new homes but will also create a thriving new mixed community of contemporary living and a state-of-the-art workplace environment.”
Following the completion of phase one of the scheme a further 180 new homes will be developed during phase two.