AS plans were unveiled for a new business park on the outskirts of Darlington, potentially creating 3,000 jobs in the process, Bill Dixon stated that the town was “open for business”.

The leader of Darlington Borough Council was understandably upbeat about the latest vision for the town, and the prospect of thousands of local people finding work.

But there has been evidence for some years that, in terms of jobs and investment, Darlington is doing things right, with a number of big name tenants already firmly rooted in the town.

Since the late nineties, Lingfield Point has been transformed from a disused, semi-derelict factory to one of the most sought-after business postcodes in the region.

Millions of pounds has been invested in upgrading the office space to reflect its history as the world’s largest wool factory, Patons and Baldwins.

Following its transformation, it has won a number of national awards, and is home to businesses of all sectors.

Amongst them are the Student Loans Company, which employs well in excess of 1,000 workers, and outsourcing company Capita, which employs hundreds.

The latter signed a new lease last year, which officials at the time said would keep it in Darlington until at least 2025.

Closer to the town centre, there is Central Park.

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Once a former railway sidings site that ran past Darlington Power Station, it now boasts Darlington College and Teesside University, as well as 170 new homes, with more to come.

Opposite Bank Top Station, there is Business Central, and the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, home to the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), a place which bosses said would put the North-East at the vanguard of global health treatments by opening in Darlington.

Work has also begun on Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre, which will compliment CPI and offer training in the life science sector.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry was present for the site's groundbreaking, describing it as a“regionally and nationally significant educational asset.”

And only last year, the council said its Ingenium Parc blueprint had the potential to deliver more than 2,000 jobs.

The 40-hectare site will neighbour engine maker Cummins’ factory and Cleveland Bridge’s plant, both based off Yarm Road.

Bosses said initial plots could be available in 2019, adding the first phase of the proposal had the potential to unlock 11 hectares and accommodate up to 1,100 jobs by 2021.

That announcement came just days after the council revealed it was pushing on with a 500-job plan to turn a former car park in the town’s Feethams area into an office block.

The 30,000sq ft building, known as Feethams House, could be finished by autumn 2019, providing a home for growing small and medium-sized firms.

It would mark another significant investment in Darlington’s Feethams area, which has seen a new cinema and restaurant complex complemented by a riverside walkway and multi-storey car park.

To support this vast range of new facilities popping up across the town, the council realised it had to do something about transport infrastructure.

With the support of Tees Valley Combined Authority funding, the Yarm Road and McMullen Road roundabout will be improved, with work due to start in March 2018.

The £1.5m project will increase the roundabout’s capacity and open up access to the proposed Ingenium Parc.

Yarm Road and Lingfield Way junction will benefit from £800,000 of investment, with the addition of traffic lights and a cycle route alongside Lingfield Way as far as Allington Way – which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The controversial through-about will also be scrapped, and replaced with a more conventional roundabout.

It is not just the roads. The £150m investment into Bank Top Station, known as Darlington 2025, will feature a remodelling of the station as well as the creation of dedicated platforms for local connections and future high speed services.

All of this will support the companies who are already employing thousands of Darlington workers. Mobile phone operator EE has almost 3,000, Cummins has around 1,000, and other names such as Cleveland Bridge are well established in the town.

Darlington has proved it has been “open for business” for some time, but the best may be yet to come.