Rishi Sunak visited a Darlington community centre to discuss the state of the town's roads as well as meet candidates standing in the upcoming local elections.

Joined by Darlington MP, Peter Gibson, leader of Darlington Council, Cllr Jonathan Dulston and Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, the group discussed the local Conservative manifesto at Firthmoor Community Centre in Darlington today (Friday, March 31).

The new plans include a promise to improve the North East's roads which have been riddled with large potholes.

Meanwhile, £200 million has been allocated by the Government to help fix these potholes, £85 million of which will be allocated to the Tees Valley.

Read more: Rishi Sunak in Firthmoor, Darlington grilled over luxury heated pool

The Northern Echo:

Speaking on the visit, Mr Gibson said: “It’s been a fantastic morning with Rishi meeting local people, and being able to talk about the local investment in roads - there is a real buzz here and the news of increased funding to deal with potholes is a step in the right direction.

“We’ve also launched our local election manifesto, which is full of ambition for our town and I am looking forward to sharing more of our vision for Darlington in the coming weeks.” 

The Darlington Conservatives have laid out six pledges ahead of the election in May.

These include the improvement of green spaces, a continuation of free parking, deal with dog mess, improve safety and pride in our area, demolish Northgate Tower, and a crackdown on speeding.

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The Northern Echo:

Cllr Dulston said: “We're absolutely delighted to have the Prime Minister in Darlington yet again, he's becoming a familiar face to the North East.

"Our manifesto captures all the amazing things that we have already started in Darlington, which people can already see for themselves.

"As we go into the local elections all of what we’re promising has already started, and our journey is only just beginning.  

“Our manifesto reflects on what people have been telling us on the doorstep is important to them. We will continue to deliver at pace, and we promise to deliver even more if elected in May.”  

Cllr Dulston added he was pleased with the Prime Minister support of Darlington, and said he was looking forward to welcoming 1,800 new civil servants to the town.

Speaking on the promise to improve roads, he said they were looking at Firthmoor's roads and the work they were undertaking to completely resurface the roads.

"In Darlington, it's much better to resurface roads completely rather than filling in adhoc potholes," he added

"The government announcement of an additional £200 million to focus on potholes is welcome.

"We're delighted that we'll be able to crack on at pace and make sure that we have quaility roads around the town.

"I'm delighted that we've had government support for additional funding to focus on the issues that people care about the most."

He said this was about £300,000 extra in funding for Darlington over the coming years.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was met with questions regarding his heated pool and the energy it consumes during his visit.

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The Northern Echo:

Pressed by local broadcasters on whether that makes him out of touch, the Prime Minister insisted he had taxed the windfall profits of oil companies to ease energy bills.

“People can make up their own minds if that support is sufficient enough,” he added, describing the support the Government provided as “enormous”.

“I want people to feel better off, I want to put more money in their pockets, we’re only going to be able to do that if we get inflation down.”