Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Darlington council approves £7m multi-storey car park plan
COUNCILLORS have approved plans for a £7m multi-storey car park - including premises for a disability charity - in a North-East town.
The car park will be built on an existing open-air car park on the edge of Darlington town centre and provide parking for a multi-million pound leisure development planned for an adjacent site.
The 650-space car park will also include accommodation for Darlington Association on Disability (Dad), which currently has premises in the Market Square.
Council leader Bill Dixon said the facilities in the new car park would be better than the charity's current location.
Dad chairman Gordon Pybus said the proposed move into a new car park would enable the charity to continue its scooter hire service for disabled shoppers.
Dwindling grants in recent years have made the Market Square premises less affordable for the charity.
Mr Pybus said countless people rely on the shopmobility service for access to the town centre.
The leisure development, which includes a multi-screen cinema, bars and restaurants, coupled with the planned Department for Education office development, will result in the loss of 430 parking spaces.
Given the expected increase in demand generated by these two developments, the council identified an 'urgent need' for the planned multi-storey car park Councillor Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said the car park would be 'self-financing'.
He said: "This is a critical development for the future of the town centre.
"We have got a lot of development going on, which is good for the town and good for local people.
"There have been comments about us taking on further debt, but this car park will be self-financing and a critical part of our town centre."
Members agreed to release £7m for the building of the car park, with work expected to begin early next year.
Coun McEwan expanded on his 'self-financing' comment following the completion of the meeting.
He said: "We will be borrowing money [to pay for the car park], but we will be servicing that debt using the parking revenue that comes in.
"That will pay for it in part and we will have an asset that will keep on earning revenue."
He added that 'capital receipts' from the sale of council assets, such as the land the cinema development will be built on, will also go towards paying off the loan.
Comments are closed on this article.