Demolition work has begun on a popular Darlington garden centre that closed in the spring.

Elm Ridge Garden Centre in Darlington closed its doors for the last time on Friday, March 31, after it was revealed the land is being sold.

Now, the site is in the process of demolition and our images reveal the site looking a shadow of its former self.

A new Sainsbury’s Local is set to open at the site on Coniscliffe Road in after the popular family business closed in March.

The Northern Echo: Demolition of Elm Ridge Garden Centre. Picture: Sarah Caldecott, NewsquestDemolition of Elm Ridge Garden Centre. Picture: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

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The closure coincided with the sale of the land and developers are now preparing a full planning application for the redevelopment of the site into a Sainsbury’s Local and office space.

This, however, is despite the previous owners of the garden centre and florist saying they thought it would remain a garden centre after their departure.

The potential store would also be located less than a mile from the current larger Sainsbury’s supermarket on Victoria Road.

Yet some residents have supported the idea of redeveloping the building to ensure it doesn’t become derelict.

The Northern Echo: The site will become a Sainsbury's Local. Picture: Sarah Caldecott, NewsquestThe site will become a Sainsbury's Local. Picture: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

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A statement from ELG Planning, acting on behalf of the developer, read: “The development proposes the creation of a Sainsbury’s Local on the ground floor, with office space allowance to the first and second floors.

“The office space is set to comprise of 14 office rooms and four meeting rooms.”

Mark Blake, manager of Elm Ridge told The Northern Echo he and his wife were retiring and looking forward to taking some time and to visit family in Australia.

Mr Blake said: “Because we’d worked here for so long before taking the business over, it was a very seamless takeover, and many people didn’t realise it even happened. It’s unfortunate that our daughters aren’t really interested in taking over the business.

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“It’s long hours and hard work so it’s the kind of job that you have to absolutely love to do it, and we have really loved it.

“We’ll miss our loyal customers a great deal. We’ve had loads of well wishes, cards, cakes, it’s been unbelievable really.”

It is not yet known when Sainsbury’s Local will open.

The Northern Echo: Picture: Sarah Caldecott, NewsquestPicture: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)