ORIGINAL art and poetry, costing thousands of pounds, will be incorporated in Darlington's largest residential development.

The West Park development in the Faverdale area will include 700 houses, a rugby club, part of a new hospital, a park and a community hall.

Developers Bussey and Armstrong have worked with Northern Arts for two years to create an arts and education plan for the development.

It includes working with school pupils on educational projects and introducing art into every aspect of the development.

Tony Cooper, of Bussey and Armstrong, said: "The overall effect should be informative, thought-provoking and a unique creative idea for this major development.

"The poetry plan also provides a fascinating opportunity for schools to be engaged in site visits, research activities and creative writing projects that can run parallel to the reclamation and regeneration of West Park."

The poems written by Bill Herbert under the title Caring, Sharing, Daring, will focus on the site's industrial past, Darlington's history and the area's wildlife.

Poems will be included in all aspects of the development, including on paths and public seating.

Large pieces of art will be created for the park and hospital grounds, but art works could also be incorporated in the housing estate, with each front door including a decorative glass panel and even the house numbers being turned into art.

There are also plans to create a photography exhibition at the rugby club, showing players and fans.

Before the work is commissioned, consultation will take place with Darlington Borough Council, RPS Landscape consultants County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust and Tees Forest.

A creative team, made up of artists and the developers, has already been set up to oversee the work, which will be funded by Bussey and Armstrong and Northern Arts for the first two years.

Darlington council and New Writing North are both hoping to get external funding to put into the project, while other partners involved in the site, such as the NHS Trust, will be asked to give to the scheme.

The art plans for the park have already been drawn up, but extensive consultation is still going on for all the art work in the area