Further details about plans for a new housing estate among an historic Darlington parkland have been revealed. 

Up to 44 homes are set to be built on part of the former Blackwell Grange golf course, to the south of the town, as part of plans to redevelop the area. 

The plans show the new estate would be built on an area dubbed the ‘Blands Corner Triangle’ and would consist of four, five and six-bedroomed homes. 

It comes after Darlington Borough Council previously revealed an ambition to restore the Georgian parkland around the Blackwell Grange Hotel by installing new trees and footpaths to create a ‘naturalistic’ space.

Local campaigners have stressed the need to protect the area, however. The local authority agreed in 2019 to abandon plans to build homes in the grounds surrounding the grade II-listed hotel, dubbed “the last of Darlington’s Georgian Pleasure Grounds”, dating back to 1802. In July 2019, the then council leader Cllr Heather Scott said the volume and strength of historical and environmental information put forward by the Parkland Heritage Network had highlighted the importance of protecting the area.

Information submitted alongside the latest planning application shows several listed buildings populate the area. Within the Blackwell Grange plot, the Grade II listed 18th Century Blackwell Grange Hotel and Grade II outbuilding now form a hotel and event space. The Grade II listed South Park forms a large green space to the east, and to the west Blackwell Bridge and 83 Blackwell – formerly Blackwell Grange Farm – provide remnants of the town’s rural past.

The Northern Echo: Campaigners gathered at the Parkland for a previous protest to protect the areaCampaigners gathered at the Parkland for a previous protest to protect the area (Image: The Northern Echo)

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Members of the Parkland Heritage Network have therefore urged the council to listen to the views and future involvement of environmental groups. Michael Green said: “There continues to be a concern that too structured approach to the restoration may result in a loss of the natural appearance and habitats of the parkland. As one member of the community said ‘We already have South Park’." 

The main access point for the new estate is set to be from the A67 Carmel Road South. 

Housing developer ESH Homes has outlined how it will preserve the area. A statement read: “ESH Homes pledge to restore the park’s historic landscape, bringing heritage elements back into a good condition and re-enlivening the parkland to provide an attractive and accessible public space for Darlington Town.”