WHAT do you make of the £118m building that the Government is going to construct in the middle of Darlington to house its Treasury workers?

Not for a moment are we gainsaying how great the arrival of the Treasury is for Darlington – and, we hope, for the whole country. When the relocation was announced three years ago, there were many sceptics who doubted it would ever happen but, to be fair to the Government, it has really tackled this with gusto and spades are due to be in the ground before the end of the year.

If only it were as easy to stop the small boats as it is to start a Treasury hub.

This building is probably going to be the biggest new-build in Darlington town centre this decade. Feethams House, the office block where the first civil servants are working, only cost £8.5m, and the DL1 entertainment complex opposite it cost £30m, so the Brunswick development will dwarf those.

Right beside the inner ring road, it is in a very visible location. As Alex Burghart, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, says, it will be “a landmark, sustainable, place-making building which the entire community can take pride in”.

It needs to be right.

The Northern Echo: The first artist's impression of the Treasury building off Brunswick Street issued in September. Image: ParliamentHowever, the first artist’s impressions put out in September (above) showed a dark red modern cube whereas the new ones accompanying the planning application show a bright white collection of boxes that are strangely incomplete at the top. This suggests the artist at least doesn’t know what is right for the site in a town that is full of dark red Victorian buildings.

In the old days, a competition among local architects would have been held for such a prestigious project rather than have something imposed on the town from afar. Let’s hope the consultation process really does involve the town so that the Treasury is as great an addition to the townscape as it is to the local economy.