THE first images of how trees, pavement cafes, mini plazas and a new pedestrian zone could change parts of a town centre have been revealed. 

Darlington Borough Council is proposing to make changes with part of its £23.3m from the Government’s towns fund.  

The authority has revealed some of its plans to improve Skinnergate and Darlington’s yards and to create a pedestrian zone in Coniscliffe Road.

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The plans for Skinnergate include adding trees and planters to the street, an informal performance spaces at the junction with Duke Street, to be used when vehicles are restricted, and space for pavement cafes and small “plazas” outside some buildings, including Quaker House and the Mechanics Institute.

Art installations will also be used to highlight the entrance to Darlington’s yards, which have already seen a number of improvements thanks to the towns fund, including new seating, planting and lighting and shop frontage redesigns.

Meanwhile there are proposals to create a pedestrian and cycle zone in Coniscliffe Road, aimed at developing a “pavement café culture”.

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:

The section would be from where it meets Grange Road to the access road for Hogarth Court.

And part of the existing road will also be turned into a small ‘pocket’ park in a bid to bring nature into the area.

A public consultation event was held to show interested people about the proposals.

Chris Mains, the council’s towns fund programme manager, said: “The turn out for the event was really pleasing and we came away with some new ideas, lots of feedback and the sense that people really support the regeneration of Skinnergate and want to see it thrive.

“By setting up shop close to businesses, owners were able to come to us and meet in person. If anyone, locally or from another part of town, would like to speak to us about the scheme, they’re more than welcome to contact us.”

Councillor Alan Marshall, cabinet member for economy, said: “The plans for Skinnergate will transform what has been a neglected part of the town centre over the years. We want it to be a place where people want to visit and spend time and, by extension, support local businesses.

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“I’m really pleased to hear there was a strong turnout for the event and that people came along in a positive spirit and with an open mind.”

The Skinnergate and the Yards projects will are part of wider regeneration schemes in the town centre, Northgate and Victoria Road, including around the west of the train station.

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