WORK has begun to transform the former RAFA Club in Darlington town centre into an exclusive private members club for the over 25s.

The building in Duke Street is being gutted as part of a six-week project to create a drinks and dance club.

The club will only be open to members and it is hoping to attract many people from Darlington's business community as well as an older clientele.

The Atlantic Bar and Club, which is expected to open on Wednesday, April 9, will operate from 11am to 2am Mondays to Saturdays, and from noon to 12.30am on Sundays.

Les Langley, who is opening the club with a business partner, has worked in Darlington for several years and realised there was a demand for a club catering for people over 25.

He said: "There is definitely a gap in the market. A lot of older people have said they don't feel comfortable going into town at the moment. This club will cater for them and will have a strict membership policy."

He said his target market for the club was professionals aged 25 and over.

As well as spirits and draught ales, it is also planned to serve quality wines, champagnes and cocktails.

Application forms have been sent out to some prospective members and others will be invited to join.

Mr Langley said: "A lot of people have approached me about joining the club after they heard what we were planning to do.

"We have sent application forms off and have had a lot of them back already.

"It seems there is a lot of interest in what we are doing because it is very different to anything else in the town.

"We are also sending out invitations for the opening night, which should attract more members to join.

"It is strictly a members only bar/club and those who have been given an application have been asked to return them to the bar with a photograph.

"Such has been the demand for membership that an opening night is also being planned for April 10."