A NEW bowling alley is set to open this week following £1.7million investment in a leisure centre.

A five-lane ten pin bowling alley is opening at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington on Friday.

DC Bowl is located on the first floor of the Dolphin Centre, near the bistro and licensed bar area, where the squash courts were.

Darlington Borough Council has spent £1.7m on the development, which it hopes will improve the leisure offer in the town and will bring in future income.

Councillor Heather Scott, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “I am amazed at the transformation of this part of the Dolphin Centre. Little over a year ago I looked out over the balcony area of the first floor and could only imagine what it would look like. The reality is that it looks fantastic and I am really excited that our centre users can come along and enjoy a wonderful time with family and friends with bowling, eating and drinking under one roof.

“Well done to the whole team involved in bringing this together despite the difficult conditions of the past year. It will really help to reinforce Darlington as a go-to destination for families and leisure.

Councillor Kevin Nicholson, cabinet member for health, leisure and housing, added: “For many years local residents have asked about a ten pin bowling alley for the town; our own research has also shown there was a gap in the provision of leisure facilities for young people.

"I am delighted that the council has been able to listen to these calls and delivered what is an incredible facility that families, friends and anyone keen to become more active and have fun, can use and enjoy for many years to come.

“DC Bowl, and our soon to be unveiled upgraded and extended soft play area, will ensure that the Dolphin Centre will continue to provide what local people and visitors from across the region want in terms of sport, leisure and family-friendly facilities.”

Lane bookings opened yesterday, through the website www.healthydarlington.co.uk

Daytime, early evening and late slots will be available for groups of up to six people per lane. Booking is essential.

Due to Covid restrictions, bowlers will be required to bring their own shoes which must be non-marking and suitable for bowling – no heels and non-slip soles.

Although DC Bowl has five lanes, only three will be in operation until Covid restrictions are eased further.

All areas of the Dolphin Centre will continue to adhere to Covid guidelines to ensure the safety of all users. Relevant signage and hand sanitisers are placed around the centre.