The owners of a long-established Darlington newsagents has blamed the local authority for their decision to close.

Skinnergate News in Darlington is set to close it's doors in six months time at the end of the current lease.

The newsagents have been established in the town for the last 20 years but the owners say they can no longer continue.

When asked about why they do not think they will renew their lease in six months Malcolm Dobson blamed the Labour run council.

He stated that since the change in administration their business has dropped by 40 per cent.

Mr Dobson said: "We preferred the Tory council.

"The Labour one has killed the town centre.

"Our business has dropped by 40 per cent, we will be going in about six months.

"We have been here 20 years and this is the worst time we have experienced.

"Our lease runs out in six months and we are not renewing it."

Darlington high street has been undergoing a tumultuous period in recent months.

Large businesses like OneGym have moved in and the library has re-opened after a significant regeneration project.

But this has been balanced out with the closure of Wilko and the Boots branch on High Row.

Councillor Chris McEwan, deputy leader of Darlington Borough Council and cabinet member for economy, believes that while footfall may be down people are staying longer in the town centre.

He said: "It’s disappointing to hear that the owners of Skinnergate News do not wish to renew their lease.

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"The national landscape has shown some recent downturn in footfall, however car parking data suggests that people visiting Darlington are spending longer in our town centre.

"This is alongside strong occupancy rates. The council continues to focus significant public investment to regenerate the town centre, including works to transform the Yards and Skinnergate.

"We as a town and council have been successful in encouraging growth in the town centre and will continue to promote and facilitate an environment which continues to attract new businesses into the town centre, including Skinnergate and the Yards."