THE former home of Darlington Football Club is to be turned into a mixed housing estate of 160 homes.

Architects behind the scheme to redevelop the demolished Feethams stadium will consult with neighbours before putting together final plans - which are likely to centre around a housing estate of detached and terraced houses, apartment blocks and retirement flats.

As part of the project, developers the Esh Group also intend to

* develop the river bank into a nature walk

* refurbish the existing grade II listed iron bridge

* improve the site boundary at Polam Lane

* introduce cycle routes along the Victoria embankment.

Tak Liu, from Leeds-based P and HS Architects, said: "A nature walk along the river bank will be formed and a nature reserve area will be formed.

"The development will be set back from the river bank to encourage wildlife along the river.

"The river bank area, the iron bridge and the embankment will all be addressed to improve the area."

Feethams was the Quakers' ground from 1883 to 2003 until the club moved to its Neasham Road stadium.

The old stadium was subject to vandalism and arson attacks until demolition started last year.

Only part of the tin shed remains and is being used as a sight screen by the cricket club.

Negotiations between Darlington Cricket Field Trust, which owns Feethams and developers Esh Group, are ongoing.

Trust chairman Brian Johnson said the deal depended on a number of factors. He hoped the money would be used by the club to refurbish the cricket ground and build an indoor cricket school.

Mr Johnson said: "There are no facilities in schools and we would be very happy, that if we have a facility like that, to have it for the use of schools and the community."

The football club supporters' trust had hoped the land would be used for sport.

Spokesman Steve Duffy said: "If that means development somewhere else, it will be interesting to hear something more about that.

"But if it just housing, people will be very sorry to see that happen."

The public consultation will be at the cricket club pavilion on Monday from 2pm to 8pm.