Further concerns over the future of Darlington town centre have been raised, as the council warns nearby retail developments could impact trade. 

Plans for the new Scotch Corner Designer Village reveal the developer's ambition to create one of the UK’s leading retail and leisure destinations. 

Once complete, the outlet village will boast 80 outlets with Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Adidas and Joules among the brands already confirmed. A Wagamama restaurant and Costa Coffee are also set to be built. 

But Darlington Borough Council officers have shared their concerns, with the new site potentially diverting shoppers’ interest from local businesses. 

David Coates, head of planning at the local authority, said: “We have objected to the Scotch Corner scheme as it will have a direct impact on Darlington town centre. 

“It will be an obvious and direct threat to Darlington simply because it won’t be high-end retailers, it will be less than that. The impacts will be profound.”

Mr Coates’ comments came as committee members considered the impact another potential development could have on Darlington. Plans for drive-through McDonalds, Taco Bell and Costa Coffee in Faverdale are now in doubt over concerns they could impact nearby trade and the town centre, leading to several closures and job losses. 

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The Northern Echo: The full plan for the Scotch Corner site The full plan for the Scotch Corner site (Image: The Northern Echo)

The proposal for Faverdale Industrial Estate also includes plans for a tanning salon, vets and a ‘bulky goods’ store similar to Wickes to add to the new Lidl supermarket, Starbucks and Home Bargains nearby - but they now hang in the balance. If approved, cllr Gerald Lee warned members could be “signing the death knell for our town centre”.

Down the A1, the Scotch Corner development is due to open in September 2024 but has faced several delays, after initially receiving approval from planners in 2015. 

But the proposal comes amid concerns Scotch Corner is becoming over-developed due to other plans alongside the Designer Village, which include the UK’s largest garden centre and a manufacturing plant, as well as developments at nearby Dalesway Lodge and the Moto services area.