Concerns over impact of Darlington cinema development on town's heritage as detailed plans are submitted

Darlington and Stockton Times: An artists' impression of the proposed Feethams leisure complex, in Darlington An artists' impression of the proposed Feethams leisure complex, in Darlington

A MULTI-million cinema development that will create hundreds of jobs has taken a step closer to reality after detailed plans were officially submitted.

Developers Terrace Hill hope the Feethams Leisure project will transform a neglected part of the town centre and bring a wider variety of leisure facilities to the town. The plans, which include a nine screen multiplex cinema, an 80 bedroom hotel and bars and restaurants, have been recommended for approval by Darlington Borough Council planning officers ahead of a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

The scheme is not without its detractors, with English Heritage and Darlington Association on Disability (Dad), which has concerns about disabled access, both refusing to support the application.

The detailed plans reveal the scale of the development, with the hotel expected to reach 23m (75ft) in height over six storeys overlooking the River Skerne.

The height of the development is the cause of concern for English Heritage, which fears that the building will impact on the nearby Grade 1 listed, 12th Century St Cuthbert’s Church.

An officer for English Heritage noted that the organisation supported the Feethams development in principle but added: “I am concerned about the impact upon the setting of the church.

“I do think it would be harmful to the church’s setting but the harm would be less than substantial. As the application stands, I am unable to support the application.”

The application has won the support of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Environment Agency and the council’s Highways Officer.

In recommending the application for approval, planning officers said: “It is considered that the proposed development’s overall design and scale is acceptable in the context of the existing natural and built environment.

“The development is not considered to harm the significance of heritage assets. However, were it to be considered that there was harm to St Cuthbert’s Church, the public benefits of the proposal in terms of securing the development of a major town centre site and associated jobs are considered to outweigh this harm.”

The report also concludes that there is sufficient parking in the town to accommodate customers and staff of the development and that the site is well-served by public transport.

Comments (18)

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8:00am Thu 12 Dec 13

fourmars says...

English heritage are worried about the impact the cinema and hotel will have on the church? shame they didn't show the same concern when they allowed the monstrosity of a town hall to built right next to the church,
English heritage are worried about the impact the cinema and hotel will have on the church? shame they didn't show the same concern when they allowed the monstrosity of a town hall to built right next to the church, fourmars

8:36am Thu 12 Dec 13

Ian James says...

Darlo has about as much heritage as the Reynolds football Arena!! lol.
Darlo has about as much heritage as the Reynolds football Arena!! lol. Ian James

9:04am Thu 12 Dec 13

oliviaden6 says...

Heritage costs MONEY FOLKS This council is only interested in feathering its own nest for its own ends not for the good of the people and the public.
I am sorry if this sounds like the same old moan but Darlington council and its Officers do NOTHING to help themselves in the eyes of the public. There are to many ego's trying to be filled for their own agendas.
Heritage costs MONEY FOLKS This council is only interested in feathering its own nest for its own ends not for the good of the people and the public. I am sorry if this sounds like the same old moan but Darlington council and its Officers do NOTHING to help themselves in the eyes of the public. There are to many ego's trying to be filled for their own agendas. oliviaden6

9:26am Thu 12 Dec 13

miketually says...

Between the cinema and the church is the town hall. Almost any building would be an imrpovement, surely?
Between the cinema and the church is the town hall. Almost any building would be an imrpovement, surely? miketually

9:34am Thu 12 Dec 13

GeraldD says...

What exactly is the impact on the church? It already has the town hall on one side and a multi-storey car-park a short distance from the other. It may be a nice-looking building, but the proposed development will be of far more use to the town and should be encouraged.
What exactly is the impact on the church? It already has the town hall on one side and a multi-storey car-park a short distance from the other. It may be a nice-looking building, but the proposed development will be of far more use to the town and should be encouraged. GeraldD

10:33am Thu 12 Dec 13

Rosvanian says...

oliviaden6 wrote:
Heritage costs MONEY FOLKS This council is only interested in feathering its own nest for its own ends not for the good of the people and the public. I am sorry if this sounds like the same old moan but Darlington council and its Officers do NOTHING to help themselves in the eyes of the public. There are to many ego's trying to be filled for their own agendas.
It would be useful and interesting to read your explanation of how, through the buiding of a cinema and hotel, the council is is "feathering its nest " and "filling" egos. Will these facilities only be available to members of the council or council workers? I've been to one of these so called 'cinemas' in other locations and I'm absolutely convinced that not all members of the audience were councillors or council employees and there families. And even if a few egos do get a bit of a boost, does it really matter in the grand scheme of things if the town has a spanking new facility used by thousands? (assuming, of course, it's not for the exclusive use of the council!)
[quote][p][bold]oliviaden6[/bold] wrote: Heritage costs MONEY FOLKS This council is only interested in feathering its own nest for its own ends not for the good of the people and the public. I am sorry if this sounds like the same old moan but Darlington council and its Officers do NOTHING to help themselves in the eyes of the public. There are to many ego's trying to be filled for their own agendas.[/p][/quote]It would be useful and interesting to read your explanation of how, through the buiding of a cinema and hotel, the council is is "feathering its nest " and "filling" egos. Will these facilities only be available to members of the council or council workers? I've been to one of these so called 'cinemas' in other locations and I'm absolutely convinced that not all members of the audience were councillors or council employees and there families. And even if a few egos do get a bit of a boost, does it really matter in the grand scheme of things if the town has a spanking new facility used by thousands? (assuming, of course, it's not for the exclusive use of the council!) Rosvanian

11:16am Thu 12 Dec 13

Jaga says...

Also adjoining the Town Hall will be a large new office block. So, English Heritage, will that impact on the setting of St. Cuthbert's? Morons.
Also adjoining the Town Hall will be a large new office block. So, English Heritage, will that impact on the setting of St. Cuthbert's? Morons. Jaga

1:45pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Darloresident says...

I for one am all for this development.It is exactly what is needed in this town and the site is the best available.
My only worry is the usual one .. i.e will it actually come to fruition?
I for one am all for this development.It is exactly what is needed in this town and the site is the best available. My only worry is the usual one .. i.e will it actually come to fruition? Darloresident

4:24pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Jan Van-Winkel says...

Having been to the multi-screen cinema at Teesside Park and, on many occasions, been one of fewer than 10 patrons watching the film; how is a 9 screen cinema financially viable in our small town?
Having been to the multi-screen cinema at Teesside Park and, on many occasions, been one of fewer than 10 patrons watching the film; how is a 9 screen cinema financially viable in our small town? Jan Van-Winkel

4:54pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Darlington Taxpayer says...

Jan Van-Winkel wrote:
Having been to the multi-screen cinema at Teesside Park and, on many occasions, been one of fewer than 10 patrons watching the film; how is a 9 screen cinema financially viable in our small town?
That's up to the market to decide.
[quote][p][bold]Jan Van-Winkel[/bold] wrote: Having been to the multi-screen cinema at Teesside Park and, on many occasions, been one of fewer than 10 patrons watching the film; how is a 9 screen cinema financially viable in our small town?[/p][/quote]That's up to the market to decide. Darlington Taxpayer

7:28pm Thu 12 Dec 13

English lad says...

"The site is served well by public transport" well it would be served better if they just built a bus station instead!
"The site is served well by public transport" well it would be served better if they just built a bus station instead! English lad

9:38pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Mike B. says...

Jan Van-Winkel wrote:
Having been to the multi-screen cinema at Teesside Park and, on many occasions, been one of fewer than 10 patrons watching the film; how is a 9 screen cinema financially viable in our small town?
Teesside Park is old-fashioned and uncomfortable with poor views of the screen if someone sits in front of you. That's why most people go to Cineworld in Middlesbrough: comfortable seats, steeply sloping auditoriums providing uninterrupted views of the screen.
[quote][p][bold]Jan Van-Winkel[/bold] wrote: Having been to the multi-screen cinema at Teesside Park and, on many occasions, been one of fewer than 10 patrons watching the film; how is a 9 screen cinema financially viable in our small town?[/p][/quote]Teesside Park is old-fashioned and uncomfortable with poor views of the screen if someone sits in front of you. That's why most people go to Cineworld in Middlesbrough: comfortable seats, steeply sloping auditoriums providing uninterrupted views of the screen. Mike B.

11:39pm Thu 12 Dec 13

DarloXman says...

I've been to the Vue cinema in Hull city centre several times.

Always gone on a Saturday night and it's never been more than about 25% full. You book your precise seats when you purchase tickets - so that is an improvement over Teesside Park. Seats are fixed, don't recline but are comfortable enough. For a premium of a couple of £ can pay for a VIP seat - slightly wider on the top two rows. Not as steeply sloped as Cineworld, but greater than Teesside Park.
I've been to the Vue cinema in Hull city centre several times. Always gone on a Saturday night and it's never been more than about 25% full. You book your precise seats when you purchase tickets - so that is an improvement over Teesside Park. Seats are fixed, don't recline but are comfortable enough. For a premium of a couple of £ can pay for a VIP seat - slightly wider on the top two rows. Not as steeply sloped as Cineworld, but greater than Teesside Park. DarloXman

9:14am Fri 13 Dec 13

Quakermass says...

Whilst Darlington is in need of such a development the parking is my main concern. If the council charges people to park their car to go to the cinem then it'll prevent a lot of people from going. These projects are therefore better on the outskirts of town.
Whilst Darlington is in need of such a development the parking is my main concern. If the council charges people to park their car to go to the cinem then it'll prevent a lot of people from going. These projects are therefore better on the outskirts of town. Quakermass

3:41pm Fri 13 Dec 13

miketually says...

Quakermass wrote:
Whilst Darlington is in need of such a development the parking is my main concern. If the council charges people to park their car to go to the cinem then it'll prevent a lot of people from going. These projects are therefore better on the outskirts of town.
"The report also concludes that there is sufficient parking in the town to accommodate customers and staff"

I'd far rather we developed the town centre, rather than create an out of town entertainment venue. This way, people can see a film and then go out for a meal or drink with friends at one of the town centre cafes, restaurants or bars.
[quote][p][bold]Quakermass[/bold] wrote: Whilst Darlington is in need of such a development the parking is my main concern. If the council charges people to park their car to go to the cinem then it'll prevent a lot of people from going. These projects are therefore better on the outskirts of town.[/p][/quote]"The report also concludes that there is sufficient parking in the town to accommodate customers and staff" I'd far rather we developed the town centre, rather than create an out of town entertainment venue. This way, people can see a film and then go out for a meal or drink with friends at one of the town centre cafes, restaurants or bars. miketually

11:36am Sat 14 Dec 13

Luther95 says...

miketually wrote:
Quakermass wrote:
Whilst Darlington is in need of such a development the parking is my main concern. If the council charges people to park their car to go to the cinem then it'll prevent a lot of people from going. These projects are therefore better on the outskirts of town.
"The report also concludes that there is sufficient parking in the town to accommodate customers and staff"

I'd far rather we developed the town centre, rather than create an out of town entertainment venue. This way, people can see a film and then go out for a meal or drink with friends at one of the town centre cafes, restaurants or bars.
Agreed. And parking is free on after 6pm in town and just a £1 to park all day on Sunday, when a lot of people will be using the venue.

It should provide a real boost to Darlington's night-time economy.
[quote][p][bold]miketually[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Quakermass[/bold] wrote: Whilst Darlington is in need of such a development the parking is my main concern. If the council charges people to park their car to go to the cinem then it'll prevent a lot of people from going. These projects are therefore better on the outskirts of town.[/p][/quote]"The report also concludes that there is sufficient parking in the town to accommodate customers and staff" I'd far rather we developed the town centre, rather than create an out of town entertainment venue. This way, people can see a film and then go out for a meal or drink with friends at one of the town centre cafes, restaurants or bars.[/p][/quote]Agreed. And parking is free on after 6pm in town and just a £1 to park all day on Sunday, when a lot of people will be using the venue. It should provide a real boost to Darlington's night-time economy. Luther95

6:14pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Stocko says...

English lad wrote:
"The site is served well by public transport" well it would be served better if they just built a bus station instead!
Surely you're more likely to get a bus station if the town itself can be revitalised and demand for it increased.

Oliviaden - always so negative and anti anything which may actually boost the town just because the current council is Labour.

As an outside observer it seems Darlington is making an effort to regenerate its town centre as well as create jobs along the way.

Surely only positives for residents and jobseekers.
[quote][p][bold]English lad[/bold] wrote: "The site is served well by public transport" well it would be served better if they just built a bus station instead![/p][/quote]Surely you're more likely to get a bus station if the town itself can be revitalised and demand for it increased. Oliviaden - always so negative and anti anything which may actually boost the town just because the current council is Labour. As an outside observer it seems Darlington is making an effort to regenerate its town centre as well as create jobs along the way. Surely only positives for residents and jobseekers. Stocko

11:42am Wed 18 Dec 13

giggitty says...

oliviaden6 wrote:
Heritage costs MONEY FOLKS This council is only interested in feathering its own nest for its own ends not for the good of the people and the public. I am sorry if this sounds like the same old moan but Darlington council and its Officers do NOTHING to help themselves in the eyes of the public. There are to many ego's trying to be filled for their own agendas.
Boring, boring, boring..............
...... Yaaaaawwwwwwnnnnn!

Wake me up when you have someting to say rather than just spounting bile!
[quote][p][bold]oliviaden6[/bold] wrote: Heritage costs MONEY FOLKS This council is only interested in feathering its own nest for its own ends not for the good of the people and the public. I am sorry if this sounds like the same old moan but Darlington council and its Officers do NOTHING to help themselves in the eyes of the public. There are to many ego's trying to be filled for their own agendas.[/p][/quote]Boring, boring, boring.............. ...... Yaaaaawwwwwwnnnnn! Wake me up when you have someting to say rather than just spounting bile! giggitty

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