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  • "• I can not understand why the council are allowing new office developments, a new cinema and hotel when there already so many unused office blocks and retail units in the town. An example is Northgate house an unused and unloved eyesore which with some thought and planning could have been used to house the Mowden hall staff, same with the new cinema all that will happen is the Odeon will close down along with KFC and that will be another eye sore, we cant keep building new and letting the old die or the town centre will be a series of disjointed ghettos.
    • How often do you visit Darlington town centre on an evening? That’s a great question, I think like most families with young children we don’t go into the town after dark as it’s a unwelcoming place occupied by youths on skate board and drunks falling from one pub to another, this needs to change especially for the summer months as other towns seem to have a better mix of both people and entertainment.
    • Has the internet led to you shopping less in Darlington town centre?. 100% yes and this is the main reason why the town centre has to change or die, we now tend to make use of our leisure time doing more than just shopping, maybe if there was a riverside walk to the south park we would stroll down there and take in a few shops or a meal at a family friendly restaurant like Nando`s. You have to ask why would you go into the town, charged for parking, roadworks everywhere, dodging high speed busses in disjointed pedestrianised areas & a poor mix of shops, you would be mad to actually aspire to use your leisure time to do that when there are so many better places and experiences available. Times have changed the town centre needs offer more than just shopping, the new cinema will help, but I fear that the rest of the town will be a series of empty and low brow shops and a closed boarded up hotel."
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Your say on the future of Darlington Town Centre

The Darlington Debate: Have your say on the future of Darlington Town Centre

The Darlington Debate: Have your say on the future of Darlington Town Centre

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Darlington reporter

ON Thursday evening representatives of more than 60 businesses and retail outlets based in the centre of Darlington will gather to discuss the future of the town and what it offers to the public.

The Darlington town centre conference, organised by Darlington Borough Council and Distinct Darlington, will focus on a regeneration strategy for the town and what can be done to help the centre thrive.

Business owners will be asked for their views on a number of topics –planning policy, specifically around empty units; how retailers can use the internet to their benefit; the potential impact of major developments planned for Darlington and the future of the indoor and outdoor markets.

Ahead of the conference The Northern Echo wants to hear from our readers what they think about the future of Darlington and how it can grow and develop in the next 20 years.

Give your thoughts on any of the following issues by adding your comments to this article:

• What would you like to see happen to the empty units in Darlington town centre? Would you welcome residential units in place of empty shops and office blocks? What leisure, retail or business opportunities do you think are missing in Darlington?

• Do you use Darlington’s markets – indoor and outdoor? Are the markets held in the right place in the town centre and do they offer the right mix of goods and services? How could the indoor market building be developed for the modern shopper?

• How often do you visit Darlington town centre on an evening? What brings you to the town centre or keeps you away at night? Do you think the new cinema and leisure development planned for the Feethams car park will make you more likely to visit? What is a priority for you – cafes and restaurants, bars and pubs, shops or leisure facilities? Would you like to see more entertainment events in the town centre?

• Has the internet led to you shopping less in Darlington town centre? Would you use collection services in the town centre for online shopping? Does online promotion of Darlington town centre on social networks encourage you to visit the town centre?

We will publish some of the best ideas and arguments alongside our coverage of the conference, which will take place on Thursday, March 27, between 5pm and 8pm, at Central Hall, in the town centre.

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