THE makeover and rebranding of a town centre leisure complex will be marked this weekend with a special event.

It was announced last month that Darlington's Feethams leisure complex will be rebranded to become DL1 following redevelopment work over recent weeks.

As part of the work, the podium level has seen the installation of a pergola structure with a retractable roof and planters, new pop-units have been installed and new artwork has been painted on the side of the building.

Bosses say the work is necessary in order to make a "further connection" with people in Darlington and surrounding areas.

To mark the rebranding, a launch event will be held on Saturday in and around the complex from 11am to 3pm.

As part of the entertainment, there will be live music, Guinness World Record breaking axe juggler Chris Marley and Betty Balloon, who has appeared on Britain's Got Talent.

There will also be live dancing performances from Joanne Lowe Dance Academy, the Texas Toe Tappers and Stage Darlington.

A spokesperson for DL1 said: "A re-brand was seen as a necessity by all parties involved with the scheme to facilitate further connection with the people of Darlington and surrounding areas.

"There was a desire to keep things simple, memorable and modern. Whilst the link to the development's postcode is an obvious one, the decision to rename the scheme DL1 was more emotionally driven and comes from a strong sense of Pride In Place born out of research.

"The name was agreed following discussions, consultations and local focus group meetings."

he site opened in 2016 with a multi-screen cinema, Premier Inn hotel and a number of restaurants including Bella Italia, Estabulo, Mangobean and Nando’s.

Although some of the original restaurants at DL1 have closed down, Darlington Borough Council cabinet members Chris McEwan and Nick Wallis believe the complex has been a success and is crucial to the authority's vision of increasing the leisure offering in the town centre.

Last week, Cllr Wallis said: "The redevelopment is very colourful and it will help to raise the profile and bring more people into the town.

"Not every restaurant will work as there is a very competitive environment in Darlington, but over time more people will come to the town centre for different reasons."

Cllr McEwan added: "It is great to see the owners of Feethams continue to invest in the site – we will continue to work to make Darlington a place where people live, work, shop, eat, drink and swim."