A LONG-SERVING Darlington councillor has backed traders in calling for the town’s council to do more to improve footfall.

Conservative councillor Bill Stenson said the town centre faces ruin if improvements are not made.

Echoing concerns raised by prominent town centre trader Beryl Hankin, he said: “Our town is being destroyed, it’s being ruined and I can’t believe the council can’t see in front of their noses.

“We need to bring in more parking and toilets and the amount of empty shops is serious, you only have to walk down Post House Wynd to see all the To Let signs.

“I want more traders coming back to the town, rent lowered and the old town hall – where I served my apprenticeship – to be refurbished.”

He added: “I support traders like Ms Hankin because they’re suffering and the council should do more.

“They are being very lackadaisical about things and when people start complaining they should do something about it, especially as they’ve been complaining about the same things for a long time.

“Does the town need a better deal? Yes, I think it does, we want people to come here and shop as it’s a lovely place and I’d hate to see it ruined.”

Yesterday, a spokeswoman from Darlington Borough Council addressed the concerns raised by traders and said: “Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all.

“We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.”