Darlington Market has been crowned UK's best small indoor market at a prestigious awards event.

The Great British Market Awards annual event aims to showcase the best markets that the country has to offer.

Darlington beat "stiff" competition in its category and judges praised it for the "positive impact on the high street, support for local businesses and commitment to fostering community engagement through diverse events".

Over the last few years Darlington Market has undergone a transformation which the town council hopes will preserve its heritage and create new opportunities.

Phase 3 of the redevelopment is planned to be complete in Spring 2024 with a range of new tenants set to showcase their products.

Raymond Linch, Managing Director of Market Asset Management, said: "We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved at Darlington Market during a very short space of time.

"We now have a wide variety of traders, with new tenants opening up every few weeks and we look forward to the completion of phase 3 of the market’s redevelopment in the coming months.”

"Markets provide a place for everybody, irrespective of background. They can act as the heart of a community and that’s precisely what we’re seeing at Darlington.

"We’ve worked in close partnership with the council to make these improvements, which have now been recognised with this prestigious national award. I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in this success."

Cllr Chris McEwan, Cabinet lead for economy, Darlington Borough Council said: "Darlington is a thriving, vibrant and successful town and the indoor market is a well-loved and historic local venue.

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"Significant investment has been made to upgrade the facility so that it is fit for a modern audience, and we are delighted that the work we have been doing to preserve and transform the site, has been recognised on a national scale.

"Several new, independent businesses have been welcomed to the site, which brings retail, hospitality and leisure together under one roof; with more set to join as works complete.

"We are confident that the market will continue to go from strength to strength and will help to ensure Darlington remains great place to live, work or visit."