RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say on a council’s new town centre strategy.

In July, a scheme to reinvent Darlington’s town centre was approved at Cabinet and illustrated plans for development for the next ten years.

Darlington Borough Council have now opened the consultation process to the public and are urging residents to have their say on what improvements they would like to see made to the town.

The town centre strategy addresses four main areas for redevelopment and includes the Victorian indoor market, Skinnergate and the Yards, Northgate and Crown Street.

The plan outlines areas of improvement such as the cleanliness of the town centre, accessibility for pedestrians and motorists, and creating spaces for young people.

Its strategy also discusses plans to acknowledge the town’s heritage through refurbishment of the indoor market and development of the Yards and Wynds.

There are plans to replace empty shops with residential accommodation and create office accommodation for businesses and start-up enterprises.

Darlington will also be entered for Purple Flag status, similar to Green Flag and Blue Flag accreditations, awarded to town centres which are deemed positive, diverse, vibrant, and offer safe and enjoyable nightlife.

The council have said its overall strategy will focus on improving the attractiveness of the town centre, celebrating Darlington’s heritage, supporting economic growth, and improving residents’ health and wellbeing and residents have the opportunity to voice their opinion on each of these through a public survey.

In an extract from the plan, it said: "Since the last town centre strategy was written in 2012, the landscape for town centres and retail has changed dramatically.

"Many towns and cities across the UK have seen a huge change in the make-up of their local high streets.

"Given the changes in both the high street environment and in people's shopping habits, there is a need for all towns to develop plans that are focused transforming town centres into a community hub for years to come."

It added that it aims to deliver positive change to the town by 2030.

The Northern Echo:

Councillor Alan Marshall, pictured above, Cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “This document lays out exactly how we intend to develop our town centre over the next decade, with a focus on four key areas of the town.

“I would urge people to get involved in shaping the future of our town by feeding in their views.

“This is undoubtedly an exciting time for Darlington as we work towards tackling those areas of the town centre we know could be improved, meaning a better town centre experience for everyone.”

Both full and summarised documents outlining the town centre strategy and access to the public survey can be found online at