PROPOSALS to release millions of pounds to assist in the building of a new office block have been approved by cabinet members.

Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet this week voted to approve the release of more than £2.5m to help fund the five-storey high Feethams Office Development.

The property will be designed to provide accommodation for small and medium businesses in the professional services, digital and creative fields.

It will be located close to the existing Feethams leisure and food development, with dozens of firms already said to have expressed an interest in moving to the site.

At the cabinet meeting, councillors voted to back proposals to release the money after Cllr Chris McEwan said: “There is high demand for Grade A office accommodation in this town and we have had quite a bit of interest.

“If this build goes well and if the letting goes well, then there is also potential to develop a neighbouring building on the site.

“We need to progress this as it will bring more jobs to the centre of Darlington and the success of the town centre will not only rely on retail but on people working in the town centre and living in the town centre.

“We have seen that with the Department for Education building and this too has the potential of benefits for footfall and the vitality of the town centre.”

Leader of the opposition, Heather Scott, supported the plans but said the authority should “be careful” that the development did not only act to redistribute companies already in the town.

She added: “Everything carries a risk but if we do not do this, someone else will.”

The council’s funds will contribute to the building’s £8.5m cost, which is also being part-funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund, who have pledged to invest £3.3m and £2.04m respectively in the project.

  • The proposals are expected to be voted on by Darlington’s full council on Thursday, March 22.