PLANS to create better coach and bus facilities in Darlington town centre as part of the Feethams development project are set to be discussed by councillors.

The improvements to bus and coach waiting areas in the town will form part of the redevelopment of the south of the town centre, in particular the new Department for Education building and the cinema and leisure development.

It is hoped the scheme will reduce congestion in Tubwell Row, offer better bus facilities for the new cinema development and improve waiting facilities for all coach and bus passengers.

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Funding for the improvement scheme, which will be presented to councillors at a meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s full council on Thursday, will come from the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvement fund and from the council’s own capital budget.

Among the proposals put forward by the council is a plan to move the bus stops from outside the Joseph Pease pub on Tubwell Row to outside the town hall.

The council’s market research found that most people in town were positive about bus facilities but that the majority of negative responses related to bus stops in Prebend Row and Tubwell Row.

Some bus stops were reallocated to reduce congestion in Prebend Row earlier this year, with the relocation of stops from Tubwell Row to the town hall intended to have the same impact.

To create more space for the new bus stops and to improve access to the council’s customer services facility, the wall outside the town hall will be replaced with steps.

As well as changes to bus facilities, the council has also proposed to improve the waiting area for coach passengers opposite the town hall by creating a seating area protected from the elements.

The market research carried out by the council found that most people thought the coach stop was in the right place, but more than half thought its facilities were poor.

If the proposals are agreed by councillors, the work must be completed by April next year, before the funding expires.

The report prepared for council said: “The interest in development of the Feethams area is growing with the DfE office development and the anticipated leisure development.

“There are however several infrastructure improvements identified as required in order to realise the vision for Feethams. The design and construction of the bus and coach passenger waiting facilities improvements project will contribute towards this aim.”