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  • "I love the covered market and make a point of shopping there. There used to be a better mix of stalls but council chose to charge more and most chose to go elsewhere but they are still in business. The town centre was never meant to be a pedestrian haven. It was designed for cyclists at the expense of pedestrians.We are still jammed on narrow pavements struggling to compete with bus queues, mobility scooters, prams and cyclists who still don't know how to drive on the road. After 4:00 I avoid the town centre. It is a playground for youth who dominate with their skateboards and scooters and bmx bikes. Not a safe place at night with all the drunken yobs hanging around Tesco. I would like to see more housing downtown as that will generate interest in the cafe and restaurant trade. Above all every one I speak to at the bus stop cries "Where is the bus Station". If you are not familiar with the bus routes finding your way is difficult with the stops spread out so far. I personally find it easier to get to Gilesgate in Durham than to Morton park in Darlington on the bus.I no longer drive a car it is too expensive to run. I rarely shop on the internet, I do not trust what I cannot see. This used to be a thriving town when I was a little girl. Hardly any on 'the dole' and children kept under control by their parents. I think one of these new developments should contain a bus station and we need to put in park and ride to ease congestion. All the money in the world will not correct the mistake of a ring road in the middle of town."
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Your say on the future of Darlington Town Centre

The Northern Echo: The Darlington Debate: Have your say on the future of Darlington Town Centre The Darlington Debate: Have your say on the future of Darlington Town Centre

ON Thursday evening representatives of more than 60 businesses and retail outlets based in the centre of Darlington will gather to discuss the future of the town and what it offers to the public.

The Darlington town centre conference, organised by Darlington Borough Council and Distinct Darlington, will focus on a regeneration strategy for the town and what can be done to help the centre thrive.

Business owners will be asked for their views on a number of topics –planning policy, specifically around empty units; how retailers can use the internet to their benefit; the potential impact of major developments planned for Darlington and the future of the indoor and outdoor markets.

Ahead of the conference The Northern Echo wants to hear from our readers what they think about the future of Darlington and how it can grow and develop in the next 20 years.

Give your thoughts on any of the following issues by adding your comments to this article:

• What would you like to see happen to the empty units in Darlington town centre? Would you welcome residential units in place of empty shops and office blocks? What leisure, retail or business opportunities do you think are missing in Darlington?

• Do you use Darlington’s markets – indoor and outdoor? Are the markets held in the right place in the town centre and do they offer the right mix of goods and services? How could the indoor market building be developed for the modern shopper?

• How often do you visit Darlington town centre on an evening? What brings you to the town centre or keeps you away at night? Do you think the new cinema and leisure development planned for the Feethams car park will make you more likely to visit? What is a priority for you – cafes and restaurants, bars and pubs, shops or leisure facilities? Would you like to see more entertainment events in the town centre?

• Has the internet led to you shopping less in Darlington town centre? Would you use collection services in the town centre for online shopping? Does online promotion of Darlington town centre on social networks encourage you to visit the town centre?

We will publish some of the best ideas and arguments alongside our coverage of the conference, which will take place on Thursday, March 27, between 5pm and 8pm, at Central Hall, in the town centre.

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