FASHION designer Wayne Hemingway says a ‘hands off’ approach could regenerate culture in Darlington.

Speaking at an event organised to celebrate and discuss cultural activity in the town, he urged the authorities to give young creatives freedom and space.

Mr Hemingway suggested the success of cultural regeneration could be found in an ‘absent governance’ approach that allowed for projects to flourish with little interference, expense or red-tape.

The founder of Red or Dead was in Darlington at a landmark conference organised in relation to Tees Valley’s bid to be named Capital of Culture in 2025.

In his talk – Bringing to fruition regeneration projects with culture at their heart – he said Darlington could benefit from following in the footsteps of places like Kent, Berlin and New York.

Regeneration projects in Margate, Mitte and Brooklyn transformed struggling areas into cultural hubs and set an example Hemingway is keen to see replicated elsewhere.

Speaking at Darlington's Dolphin Centre, he said this generation deserved the freedom and options his had.

Mr Hemingway shared his rags to riches story of moving to London with partner Gerardine and fashioning an empire from humble beginnings on a market stall in Camden.

He said: “When we went to London we were full of energy but had no money – back then life was easier if you were from a working class background.

“The rent for our stall was £6 a day and maybe the council could help with that, they can start to give space in the way we were given space."

He added: “Absence of governance is very, very important – we need laws to stop people being beaten up but in terms of creativity, just give us low cost space and leave us alone.

“If we want advice, give us it but don’t mollycoddle us, we don’t need it."