COUNCILLORS have approved a raft of measures aimed at guiding the ambitious “once-in-a-lifetime” regeneration of a North-East town centre.

Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet met on Tuesday (December 4) evening to discuss the principles on which future town planning will be based, following months of public consultation.

Council officers will hold talks with developers on a possible food store in the Northgate area of the town.

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Developer Lateral Property Group, which wants to build the supermarket, claims its proposals could create hundreds of jobs in the town.

Plans for the supermarket on the Garden Street car park, behind Northgate, are at the early stage, with a consultation and planning process expected in the New Year.

The plan could also see the see the two parts of Northgate that are currently separated by the inner ring road being reconnected, with members approving spending of £70,000 on feasibility work on remodelling the junction.

Members also agreed to spend £40,000 on a preliminary work on potential refurbishment of the town’s historic Covered Market.

The recommendations received cross-party support, with backing from both the ruling Labour group and the Conservatives.

Council leader Bill Dixon said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the town centre our children and our grandchildren will inherit.

“If we have got a project we can all support, it has got a far greater chance of success.

“If you try to develop anything in the teeth of opposition, you might get it done, but it is not going to be very pretty.”

Conservative leader Heather Scott added: “Public consultation has resulted in some very good suggestions being put forward.

“The Conservative group is wholly behind the plan.”