Multi-million pound Darlington leisure scheme given the go-ahead (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Multi-million pound Darlington leisure scheme given the go-ahead
A MULTI-MILLION pound leisure complex has been given the go-ahead.
The Feethams Leisure project will transform the former bus depot site in Darlington into a nine-screen multiplex Vue cinema, 80 bedroom Premier Inn hotel, and a number of bars and restaurants, including Nandos and Prezzo.
The detailed plans, submitted by developers Terrace Hill, were today (Wednesday, December 18) approved by Darlington Borough Council’s planning applications committee and work is expected to begin next year, with the complex opening in autumn 2015.
Speaking at the meeting, chairman of the committee, Councillor Paul Baldwin said: “This shows Darlington is very much open for business.
“Someone is going to spend millions of pounds and take a bit of a risk and they have chosen Darlington to do that.”
Around 300 jobs will be generated at the complex site - which is currently being used as a car park - with a further 100 created during the initial building work.
Simon Hawkins, development director at Terrace Hill said: “We develop all round the UK, this site will be as good as it gets in the UK as a leisure scheme both in terms of its design and in terms of opportunities for development.
“It will draw more frequent visitors to the town and many of them will make more frequent trips to the town centre while they are here.
“Strong support has been expressed at a number of public consultation exercises.”
However, the plans have received objections from both English Heritage, who fear the height of the buildings will impact on the nearby grade I-listed, 12 Century St Cuthbert’s Church, and Darlington Association on Disability (Dad) which has concerns over disabled access.
A landscaped garden area with seating will be created on a raised level and is accessible via steps and a ramp on the south-east corner, via the cinema entrance on the south-west side and steps and a lift on the north-west corner on Feethams.
Addressing the meeting, chairman of Dad, Gordon Pybus, said he had concerns over the use of a lift in the north-west corner on Feethams, saying most people using the development will come from the direction of the town centre and a lift would not be reliable enough for wheelchair users.
He said: “I just think it (disabled access) is an afterthought. You need to have inclusive design from the outset.”
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