A VITAL link road and roundabout is now open and set to unlock the development of a key gateway site on the edge of Darlington.

The road and roundabout have been funded by a £2.8m grant from Homes England and will unlock the potential to build around 1,200 homes to form a new West Park Garden Village.

The new road runs through the development and links Edward Pease Way with Newton Lane and will address potential traffic volume issues on the A68.

The new infrastructure is a key milestone in a joint partnership venture between Darlington Borough Council and Esh Homes.

Alongside this first phase of strategic works to enable the development, the partnership with Esh Homes will see around 200 houses built on Stag House Farm within the garden village.

Shared profits from the venture could see the Council receive much needed income to help benefit development across the borough and improve council services.

Land is earmarked within the West Park Garden Village for a school and playing fields and there will be pedestrian and cycle links to the existing West Park development.

Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Council, said: “This new road effectively unlocks this key site which will provide good quality homes for thousands of people. In addition, the landscaping work that is already underway will ensure that this new village lives up to its garden village title."

The development includes green spaces, footpaths and cycleways while noting the sites's history via its street names.

Cllr Scott added: “The Council’s partnership with Esh Homes, along with essential funding from Homes England, has enabled us to set this vital infrastructure in place to bring into reality what has been a masterplan for many years.”

Phil Brown from Esh Homes said: “The extensive infrastructure project at West Park has been completed by the Esh Homes construction team to support the growth in this part of Darlington.

"As one of the developers currently constructing new homes at the West Park site, the project was designed to deliver new roads and access points to future proof the area as more properties are completed. Given the success to date of property sales at this particular site, we are confident that West Park will quickly become a key residential destination for Darlington.”