A MULTI-million pound extension that will create extra operating theatres and a new mortuary at Darlington Memorial Hospital has been given the go-ahead by planners.

The plans for the site, on Hollyhurst Road, will involve the demolition of the existing 1960s-built Pierremont Building and the Mary Hodgkin Memorial Chapel to make way for a three storey building with upgraded facilities.

The £20m project will see a number of new operating theatres built on the site, a bereavement centre and mortuary and extra parking for 47 vehicles.

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The application was passed by planning officers at Darlington Borough Council acting under delegated powers.

Two objections about the proposals were made by local residents, who raised concerns about the impact of construction work on the nearby Reid Street School and the poor state of repair of Hollyhurst Road.

A report prepared by planning officers noted that issues surrounding construction, traffic management and road maintenance would all be dealt with using a construction management plan to minimise the impact.

The report adds: “The buildings to be demolished do not contribute to the visual appearance of the area and their demolition would enhance the site, especially the removal of the four storey concrete Pierremont Building.

“The scale of the new extension is considered to be acceptable and in keeping with surrounding buildings.”