Arts centre could be demolished to make way for development

The Northern Echo: FOR SALE: Darlington Arts Centre FOR SALE: Darlington Arts Centre

A HISTORIC former arts centre building could be demolished to make way for future development, council chiefs have confirmed.

Prospective developers are being invited to bid for the 19th Century former Darlington Arts Centre building.

Darlington Borough Council owns the red-brick Victorian building, which closed as an arts venue in 2012.

The authority is staying tight-lipped on its valuation for the property, which occupies a 7,570sq metre site in a mainly residential area of Darlington’s west end.

Funds raised by the sale of the building will be used to support arts projects in the borough.

Council chiefs will consider a range of proposals for the building – from an arts and community building to full residential development.

Although there are currently no plans to demolish the building, the council is keeping an open mind.

In a statement about the sale process, it said: “There may be a range of development options, from refurbishment to demolition of part of all of the building, although a prospective purchaser must be able to demonstrate that they will deliver a high-quality development.”

The building is not listed, as it is considered to be too heavily altered to be of national significance.

Interested parties will need to complete an official tender form and return it by March 10.

Up to five offers, ranked by price, will go forward to the next stage.

The successful bid will be required to follow a strict timeline, with the aim of presenting a detailed planning application for the site by July 30.

Councillor Steve Harker, cabinet member for efficiency and resources, said: “This is a positive step for the future of the site. The Arts Centre is in a conservation area and we are mindful that any development is sympathetic to the surrounding area.

“We have consulted local residents before preparing the brief and we are aware of their concerns. One of the main ones being that the site is put to good use in the near future and not left to become derelict.

“Once the sale is complete, we can look forward to a development that is sensitive to its surroundings and adds to the local area and, more so, a substantial amount of money that can be reinvested in the arts to continue the legacy of the Arts Centre in Darlington.”

For more information, call the council’s estates team, on 01325-388044, planning on 01325-388037, or visit darlington.gov.uk/landforsale

Comments (13)

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8:25am Thu 23 Jan 14

D. Hop says...

Surprise, surprise!!!
Surprise, surprise!!! D. Hop

12:11pm Thu 23 Jan 14

thehogman says...

You have to be joking; no new build will enhance the area like this building does
You have to be joking; no new build will enhance the area like this building does thehogman

1:02pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Ally F says...

Likely the developer's scheme will raze all but a small portion of the old building, and the architect will make an apologetic nod to the old building's architecture and surroundings in the new town houses clustered round it.

Similar thing happened at Winterton hospital site near Sedgefield, the hospital chapel being the only surviving structure as it is a listed building. The bland identikit houses, flat and apartments in Winterton surrounding it all have peculiar Victorian gothic faux stone concrete window openings.
Likely the developer's scheme will raze all but a small portion of the old building, and the architect will make an apologetic nod to the old building's architecture and surroundings in the new town houses clustered round it. Similar thing happened at Winterton hospital site near Sedgefield, the hospital chapel being the only surviving structure as it is a listed building. The bland identikit houses, flat and apartments in Winterton surrounding it all have peculiar Victorian gothic faux stone concrete window openings. Ally F

1:11pm Thu 23 Jan 14

cholmes005 says...

sell it off and the council can use some of money to pump into decent venues still open like civic and thearte and the forum. Never liked place, **** sound for bands and expensive drinks and admission. Since it shut alot of the type of gigs that took place now are happening at the forum so nowt lost really
sell it off and the council can use some of money to pump into decent venues still open like civic and thearte and the forum. Never liked place, **** sound for bands and expensive drinks and admission. Since it shut alot of the type of gigs that took place now are happening at the forum so nowt lost really cholmes005

2:03pm Thu 23 Jan 14

oliviaden6 says...

Do I see another gated community developing here or a nice little office complex, I wonder how long Bill and His Buddies have been sitting on this one?
Do I see another gated community developing here or a nice little office complex, I wonder how long Bill and His Buddies have been sitting on this one? oliviaden6

2:57pm Thu 23 Jan 14

D. Hop says...

I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility).
We wont see a penny of it!
I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility). We wont see a penny of it! D. Hop

7:43pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Awake-in-Darlo says...

D. Hop wrote:
I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility).
We wont see a penny of it!
"The Council are remaining tight-lipped......"
Says it all really.
Place your bets, whatever makes biggest profit for them will go ahead.
We are only council-tax payers, they don`t care what we might think.
[quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility). We wont see a penny of it![/p][/quote]"The Council are remaining tight-lipped......" Says it all really. Place your bets, whatever makes biggest profit for them will go ahead. We are only council-tax payers, they don`t care what we might think. Awake-in-Darlo

9:40pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Luther95 says...

D. Hop wrote:
I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility).
We wont see a penny of it!
"Once the sale is complete, we can look forward to a development that is sensitive to its surroundings and adds to the local area and, more so, a substantial amount of money that can be reinvested in the arts to continue the legacy of the Arts Centre in Darlington.”

The Council has consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending.
[quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility). We wont see a penny of it![/p][/quote]"Once the sale is complete, we can look forward to a development that is sensitive to its surroundings and adds to the local area and, more so, a substantial amount of money that can be reinvested in the arts to continue the legacy of the Arts Centre in Darlington.” The Council has consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending. Luther95

8:53am Fri 24 Jan 14

D. Hop says...

Luther95 wrote:
D. Hop wrote:
I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility).
We wont see a penny of it!
"Once the sale is complete, we can look forward to a development that is sensitive to its surroundings and adds to the local area and, more so, a substantial amount of money that can be reinvested in the arts to continue the legacy of the Arts Centre in Darlington.”

The Council has consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending.
You are correct they have "consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending." But, I was recently shown a presentation by a member of the council showing their projected shortcomings over the next handful of years. There will be a £25 million gap in their budget due to massively decreased input from the government. So do you really think this money will got to the arts when the figures state they could be bust in over 2 years? I don't!
[quote][p][bold]Luther95[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility). We wont see a penny of it![/p][/quote]"Once the sale is complete, we can look forward to a development that is sensitive to its surroundings and adds to the local area and, more so, a substantial amount of money that can be reinvested in the arts to continue the legacy of the Arts Centre in Darlington.” The Council has consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending.[/p][/quote]You are correct they have "consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending." But, I was recently shown a presentation by a member of the council showing their projected shortcomings over the next handful of years. There will be a £25 million gap in their budget due to massively decreased input from the government. So do you really think this money will got to the arts when the figures state they could be bust in over 2 years? I don't! D. Hop

8:35pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Luther95 says...

D. Hop wrote:
Luther95 wrote:
D. Hop wrote:
I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility).
We wont see a penny of it!
"Once the sale is complete, we can look forward to a development that is sensitive to its surroundings and adds to the local area and, more so, a substantial amount of money that can be reinvested in the arts to continue the legacy of the Arts Centre in Darlington.”

The Council has consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending.
You are correct they have "consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending." But, I was recently shown a presentation by a member of the council showing their projected shortcomings over the next handful of years. There will be a £25 million gap in their budget due to massively decreased input from the government. So do you really think this money will got to the arts when the figures state they could be bust in over 2 years? I don't!
You're correct D.Hop that the Council revenue budget is under huge pressure as a result of the deep cuts in Government grant - most North East councils are in a similar position. And looking at the Coalition's own projections on local government support to 2020 means that soon there won't be enough money for the Council to meet its 'statutory' duties - the likes of spending on adult and children's services, never mind the so-called non-statutory discretionary spend. Discretionary spend includes the arts and leisure, of course.

Unfortunately, the Tories and Lib Dems in Government don't give a t*ss about local services in the North.

The money from the sale of the Arts Centre is capital spend, however. It can't legally be used for day-to-day spending on services, no matter how hard-pressed. The commitment regarding the money from the sale of the former Arts Centre building has been made and repeated, and should be taken at face value.
[quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Luther95[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: I'd guess it will be sold and the money will be used in one way or another to generate more cash for the council, because over the next handful of years they are going to struggle to avoid going bust (Its a definite possibility). We wont see a penny of it![/p][/quote]"Once the sale is complete, we can look forward to a development that is sensitive to its surroundings and adds to the local area and, more so, a substantial amount of money that can be reinvested in the arts to continue the legacy of the Arts Centre in Darlington.” The Council has consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending.[/p][/quote]You are correct they have "consistently said that the proceeds of the sale of the building is ring-fenced for arts spending." But, I was recently shown a presentation by a member of the council showing their projected shortcomings over the next handful of years. There will be a £25 million gap in their budget due to massively decreased input from the government. So do you really think this money will got to the arts when the figures state they could be bust in over 2 years? I don't![/p][/quote]You're correct D.Hop that the Council revenue budget is under huge pressure as a result of the deep cuts in Government grant - most North East councils are in a similar position. And looking at the Coalition's own projections on local government support to 2020 means that soon there won't be enough money for the Council to meet its 'statutory' duties - the likes of spending on adult and children's services, never mind the so-called non-statutory discretionary spend. Discretionary spend includes the arts and leisure, of course. Unfortunately, the Tories and Lib Dems in Government don't give a t*ss about local services in the North. The money from the sale of the Arts Centre is capital spend, however. It can't legally be used for day-to-day spending on services, no matter how hard-pressed. The commitment regarding the money from the sale of the former Arts Centre building has been made and repeated, and should be taken at face value. Luther95

10:55am Sat 25 Jan 14

D. Hop says...

Fair enough Luther95. But I believe the reason the government has made these cuts is basically punishment for councils consistent overspend above and beyond inflation. The trouble is we're all going to suffer. I would be interested to know what we can do about this, because I don't see a way out.
Fair enough Luther95. But I believe the reason the government has made these cuts is basically punishment for councils consistent overspend above and beyond inflation. The trouble is we're all going to suffer. I would be interested to know what we can do about this, because I don't see a way out. D. Hop

6:42am Sun 26 Jan 14

Luther95 says...

D. Hop wrote:
Fair enough Luther95. But I believe the reason the government has made these cuts is basically punishment for councils consistent overspend above and beyond inflation. The trouble is we're all going to suffer. I would be interested to know what we can do about this, because I don't see a way out.
You're right D.Hop that right-wing Westminster politicians have attacked councils for rises in Council Tax - ironically, whilst imposing more and more duties on councils via national legislation which they have to comply with (and which cost!)

Whilst all public services are suffering right now (outside of the Coalition's self-imposed ring-fence) my sense is that there is a strong ideological streak to what the Government is doing to local government. In a single Parliament, and without any national debate, the Coalition is destroying the concept of publicly-provided local services. In the 1980's, the Tories' local government minister Nicholas Ridley had a vision of councils operating as they do in some parts of the US - meeting once a year to agree tenders for bin collection and the like, and that would be it. Fundamentally, that's Pickles' vision too.

The future post-2016? Like you, I'm at a loss, because many councils simply won't be able to meet their statutory responsibilities as the decade wears on.

There has to be debate about all of this at the General Election, although local government rarely is rated 'sexy' enough by the Westminster bubble to get a look in. When MP's do face up to the reality of what they are doing, however, the following are possible options;

(1) Reverse the cuts to local government. Unlikely, in light of wider public sector reductions. An incoming government could redress the unfairness of Pickles' perverse grant system, however, which is disproportionately punishing northern councils whilst some in the south are actually getting more money!
(2) Lift the cap on Council Tax rises. Local communities would have to shoulder the impact of central government reductions, but councils are accountable via the ballot box.
(3) Look at further synergies between council and NHS spending - this won't solve all the problems, but by working to prevent older people going into care/hospital, councils should get more health resources to take forward this agenda.
[quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: Fair enough Luther95. But I believe the reason the government has made these cuts is basically punishment for councils consistent overspend above and beyond inflation. The trouble is we're all going to suffer. I would be interested to know what we can do about this, because I don't see a way out.[/p][/quote]You're right D.Hop that right-wing Westminster politicians have attacked councils for rises in Council Tax - ironically, whilst imposing more and more duties on councils via national legislation which they have to comply with (and which cost!) Whilst all public services are suffering right now (outside of the Coalition's self-imposed ring-fence) my sense is that there is a strong ideological streak to what the Government is doing to local government. In a single Parliament, and without any national debate, the Coalition is destroying the concept of publicly-provided local services. In the 1980's, the Tories' local government minister Nicholas Ridley had a vision of councils operating as they do in some parts of the US - meeting once a year to agree tenders for bin collection and the like, and that would be it. Fundamentally, that's Pickles' vision too. The future post-2016? Like you, I'm at a loss, because many councils simply won't be able to meet their statutory responsibilities as the decade wears on. There has to be debate about all of this at the General Election, although local government rarely is rated 'sexy' enough by the Westminster bubble to get a look in. When MP's do face up to the reality of what they are doing, however, the following are possible options; (1) Reverse the cuts to local government. Unlikely, in light of wider public sector reductions. An incoming government could redress the unfairness of Pickles' perverse grant system, however, which is disproportionately punishing northern councils whilst some in the south are actually getting more money! (2) Lift the cap on Council Tax rises. Local communities would have to shoulder the impact of central government reductions, but councils are accountable via the ballot box. (3) Look at further synergies between council and NHS spending - this won't solve all the problems, but by working to prevent older people going into care/hospital, councils should get more health resources to take forward this agenda. Luther95

5:03pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Bumbleb43 says...

Once again, we seem to be losing a bit of history.
Our town is rapidly losing it's charcter and starting to look like any other town...
Once again, we seem to be losing a bit of history. Our town is rapidly losing it's charcter and starting to look like any other town... Bumbleb43

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