RESIDENTS in a part of Darlington earmarked for a possible revamp say they are concerned about safety as well as the run-down look of the area.

Groundwork North East and Cumbria has been consulting residents on what they want to see improved in the Victoria Road area of town ahead of proposed enhancements to the area by Darlington Borough Council.

The first phase of consulting the nearby residents is complete and now people are being encouraged to take part in one of two drop-in sessions to discuss the next steps - with the first taking place today.

The events, at the Dolphin Centre, are being held to discuss and develop some of the ideas that emerged from the first phase.

Residents and businesses on Victoria Road itself have been spoken to as well as a letter drop in the surrounding streets and an online survey

Hundreds of residents, business and visitors have already shared their views. The main message from the first phase of consultation was that there is a lot of pride in the area and a strong sense of community, but people would like it to look and feel safer, smarter and greener.

Participants in the consultation said they would like the shop fronts to be smartened up and that more litter bins are needed.

Personal safety was also a concern, with some calling for improved lighting in the area. Traffic calming and parking was also an issue, while some said the look of the area could be improved by adding trees and hanging baskets.

Some respondents also called for Victoria Road to have its own Christmas lights during the festive period.

Next steps will be discussed at two drop in events in the Pease Suite at the Dolphin Centre. These will take place from 10.30am-1pm today and from 3.30-7pm on Wednesday.

The sessions will focus on several key options for discussion including changes to the road layout to tackle speeding, safer crossing points, a possible one way system to create more space and creating a green space, including tree planting, improving the cycle routes, review parking and tackle issues with cars parking down the back lane near the Royal Mail depot.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Cabinet member for leisure and local environment, said: “No decisions have yet been made about any improvements that can or will be made. Once the consultation has been completed, the feedback will be used to develop a design and we will need to put a business case through the Tees Valley Combined Authority for funding." For more information call 01325-464270.