A SERIES of planning applications have been made to redesign the shop fronts of listed buildings in Darlington's yards.

Artist Nicky Peacock has been enlisted by Darlington Borough Council to redesign some of the shops and buildings in the town centre to try and restore and showcase the town's "period character".

The council is spending part of its cash from the Government's Towns Fund scheme on the project.

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A report by the council submitted as part of the application says: "The historic yards and wynds areas are seen as being 'hidden gems' that make the town centre unique.

"However, due to their location, tucked away out of view of the main thoroughfares, these are often overlooked. With appropriate investment though, these spaces could become more attractive and help drive footfall in the town centre."

The Northern Echo:

Council leader Heather Scott said: "The work will not only bring these beautiful old buildings back to their former glory but will also make the town centre as a whole more attractive.

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"The town centre benefits from being relatively compact and has retained much of its Victorian character – seen especially in our historic wynds and yards.

"Changing consumer behaviour driven by technology, out of town shopping and prevailing economic conditions means the centre has not escaped the impact of changes to the retail industry.

"Our Towns Fund team are working hard to regenerate the town centre.”

A series of planning applications have been made to make changes to Aquaintance hair salon, in Buckton's Yard, the Cheese and Wine Shop in Clark's Yard and Yaeger barbers in Skinnergate.

Both Yaegar, which still has its original doors and window, and the Cheese and Wine Shop are Grade II listed buildings.

The changes include replacing the existing shop fronts with a more traditional style wood panelling and hand painted signs.

Aquaintance would also be painted in pastel stripes, similar to some of the work already carried out by Ms Peacock in Post House Wynd.

She said: “All these properties will have new hand-painted signage by a professional sign writer using traditional methods and enamel paints that date back to the 13th century.

"We will use timber and heritage quality paints that best suit these historic buildings. We have some really beautiful buildings in our town centre, with a lot of history and character.

The Northern Echo:

"Unfortunately, over the years, quite a bit of this character has been covered up or fallen into disrepair, and a number of shop fronts no longer match the buildings that they belong to.

"Many of the traditional market town features do still exist, but work needs to be done to discover these hidden treasures and bring them back to their former glory.”

Councillor Heather Scott added: “The restoration of these shops will benefit traders, customers and the entire community, as the whole area improves in appearance and our heritage is protected for future generations to explore and enjoy.”

The council has been allocated £22.3m from the Towns Fund which is being divided between a number of projects, with about half of the total to be spent around the Northgate area.

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