WORK is getting underway on the demolition of a former Sports Direct warehouse to make way for a regeneration programme.

The warehouse in Darlington, which was previously also a night club and bowling alley, has been vacant for some time and is now looking unkempt. 

Previous plans to turn the building into a gym fell through and Darlington Borough Council purchased the site in East Street last year.

The council is knocking down the building to make way for future development.

The council has not yet revealed plans for how it wants to regenerate the brownfield site.

Plans to knock it down were brought forward by the local authority last year.

On Monday, workmen were present at the site making preparations for the demolition and it was no longer being used as a car park for council workers.  

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The building, which was originally built in the mid 1960s, was once home to the Magnet ten pin bowling alley as well as a two-storey nightclub.

The bowling alley ceased trading in the mid 1970s and was taken over by the Magnet Furniture Group and used as a retail showroom and depot.

The Northern Echo:

It was subsequently used by Sports Direct until several years ago when the company moved premises to its current Cornmill Centre location. 

According to plans submitted last year, all asbestos will be removed prior to commencement of strip out works and selected demolition works.

Site works will commence with the removal of any remaining fixtures and fittings during the pre-demolition ‘soft strip’.

The Northern Echo:

The council said last year it was bringing the demolition plans forward to make it easier for work to take place at Crown Street Library, which is next to the site.

Work to the Grade II listed library is currently underway as it needs major work done to its roof. The building is currently surrounded by scaffolding and it has restricted access while the work is taking place. 

The East Street site is one of a number of recent acquisitions by the council.

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This year it has also bought the Northern Echo building, in nearby Priestgate, which it intends to use as an adults skills centre.

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