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Darlington residents have their say on £30m leisure scheme
VISITORS to the Dolphin Centre have had their say on the £30m leisure complex proposed for Darlington.
The public exhibition on Saturday included detailed designs for the Feethams Leisure scheme, which include a nine-screen multiplex cinema, a hotel and pubs on the riverside area of the town.
Scores of people visited throughout the afternoon and were encouraged to leave written feedback for the developers Terrace Hill.
Among those examining the designs was Joanne Boggitt, 38, of Grasmere Road who was positive about the scheme.
She said: “I think it is fantastic, particularly for the job prospects and regenerating that part of Darlington.
“I think it will be good for the town; I say let’s get it started.”
Marc Kay“I was in Plymouth recently and they had a similar complex, but it was just like a hen and stag party capital with floods of drunken young people and it worries me a lot that could happen here.”
However, Marc Kay, 55, of Harrowgate Hill, questioned whether the complex would be sustainable and had concerns that the hotel and bars would attract large groups of hen and stag parties who could “flood” the town on a weekend.
He said: “I think it is ambitious and if it works it will be brilliant, but I am not sure that it is sustainable, I have reservations about the hotel.
“I think that we need to look at the town centre itself, we need something there whether it is a bus station or whatever; since they put that concrete jungle out there it has no character.”
Mr Kay added: “I was in Plymouth recently and they had a similar complex, but it was just like a hen and stag party capital with floods of drunken young people and it worries me a lot that could happen here.”
The public exhibition was part of the developers’ pre-application consultation phase and a planning application is expected to be submitted in April.
Simon Hawkins, development director at Terrace Hill, said the exercise had been a success.
“It has been really busy and I would say the majority of people I have spoken to have been very supportive.
“Some have been saying that it is long overdue, and you get questions about whether it will happen.
“Obviously this is part of the planning process and it is all subject to that process.”
If Terrace Hill’s planning application is successful, work could start on the site as early as February next year and be open to the public by December 2014.