DEVELOPERS looking to build a 68-bedroom hotel close to a rugby stadium say they hope the plans will boost tourism in the area.

A planning application for a five storey T-shaped hotel on a vacant patch of land next to the The Northern Echo Arena, on the outskirts of Darlington, has been submitted to Darlington Borough Council by agents PlanArch Design.

The proposed three star hotel would stand independent of the Mowden Park Rugby Club-owned arena, overlooking the A66 bypass, but with access through the arena’s car park, which is entered from Neasham Road.

A statement submitted to planners by PlanArch states that the hotel would provide customers with a level of accommodation “not currently available in Darlington” and would complement the facilities available at the Darlington Arena.

The developer has proposed to build the hotel on a small, triangular piece of land that stands empty and surrounded by hedgerows.

In its report to the council, the design agents acknowledge some of the limitations of the site, including the need to cut back established hedgerows to clear the land and the proximity of the busy A66.

However it adds: “The site is in a highly visible and accessible location to attract visitors from both the corporate and tourist sectors, as well as sports fans to the stadium.

“The proposed hotel is ideally situated to complement the stadium and its ancillary uses.”

Since being taken over by Mowden Park, the arena has seen a number of new businesses open to the public, including gyms, a physiotherapist and a nursery, on top of its sporting function.

The developer said it is keen to differentiate the proposed hotel from the arena by using a different colour palate but that the two facilities would work in harmony together.

The report said: “The hotel building itself will be visually identifiable in its own right, as well as being complementary to the adjacent stadium.

“It is considered it will provide an important statement on an important national route in respect of the vitality and aspirations of Darlington in its gateway role to the region.”

The planning application for the hotel is in its early stages and will be considered by council planning officials once comments from interested parties are submitted.