A SCHEME to transform a railway station into a transport hub for the Tees Valley fit for the 21st century is set to take another step forward with the submission of Compulsory Purchase Order plans for more than 40 sites surrounding the proposed development.

Darlington Borough Council said it would shortly lodge proposals with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government to enable it to buy sites in the area surrounding Bank Top Station.

The proposed orders range from 3,803sq metres of roads including Adelaide Street, St John’s Place, Neasham Road, Garbutt Square, Victoria Street, Princes Street and Albert Street and 5,601sq metres of Garbutt Square Car Park to a parcel of land measuring just one square metre by St John’s Church.

The documents also move to get Compulsory Purchase Orders in place for several homes and the Grey Horse Inn, on St John’s Place, the East End Club and Institute, on Neasham Road and Hogans on Victoria Road.

The council has highlighted that to complete its £100m overhaul of the station additional land is needed in the area to allow the joint project by the council, Tees Valley Combined Authority and Network Rail development to take place.

The modernisation programme will see new platforms, a new station building, parking and an interchange for passengers, alongside other improvements, would also double capacity on Tees Valley and Bishop Auckland lines, meaning four trains an hour on the former and two trains an hour on the latter.

Improvements surrounding the station will involve the demolition of buildings and the construction of new station gateways consisting of transport interchanges, a public open space and a multi-storey car park.

However, as the scheme’s completion before the 2025 Stockton and Darlington Railway bi-centenary celebrations is dependent on meeting a series of deadlines, the authority has said it is crucial that it be given the power to buy land and properties where an agreement cannot be reached with the owner.

The process leading up to confirmation of a Compulsory Purchase Order, which can only be made if it can be demonstrated it would be in the public interest and will deliver social, environment and economic improvements, can take between 12 and 18 months.

As the orders are viewed as a last resort, the council would have to demonstrate that it has exhausted all other avenues to purchase the land or buildings before using the power.

Councillor Alan Marshall, the authority’s economy portfolio holder, said while agreements had been reached over some of the properties and areas of land, negotiations were ongoing over others.

He said the council was trying to support people in the area wherever it could.

Cllr Marshall said the council was making progress in its talks with property owners, but it was starting the legal process required for permission to use Compulsory Purchase Orders if they are needed.