Report of the Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services
The Cabinet Member with Economy and Regeneration Portfolio introduced the report of the Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services (previously circulated) providing an update to Members on emerging high-level thoughts and the future development of proposals that will encourage further investment on key strategic sites in Darlington Town Centre that would complement and supports the work and actions outlined in the Town Centre Footfall Strategy report agreed by Cabinet in July 2018 (Minute C33/Jul/18 refers).
The submitted report stated since the Town Centre Footfall Strategy had been produced the landscape of retail and commerce within the town centres across the UK had changed; the threat to the country’s high streets had been acknowledged by the Government which had announced a £675M Future High Street Fund as part of the 2018 budget; given the changes to both the environment of the high street and changes to peoples’ shopping habits there was a need for all towns to develop plans that had business investment at their heart and were focussed on transforming them into a community hub incorporating health, housing, arts, education, entertainment, leisure, business/office space and retail; and that Darlington’s Town Centre continued to retain a high proportion of top national retailers with a strong representation from independent retailers.
Discussion ensued on the outdoor Market and on the Yards, and in particular, on how to advertise the shops and businesses that were located in the Yards.
RESOLVED – (a) That the report be noted,
(b) That the ongoing position which officers are developing, as detailed in the submitted report, that will lead to further private sector development, be supported.
(c) That the key Town Centre development areas that were appropriate for consideration, be agreed, namely:-
(i) Victorian Indoor Market;
(ii) Skinnergate and the Yards and Wynds;
(iii) Northgate; and
(d) That further reports be brought back to future Cabinet meetings to update on progress.
REASONS – (a) To ensure that the strategic sites detailed in the report are addressed to improve the attractiveness and vitality of the Town Centre.
(b) Suitable alternative uses of sites are pursued to support the actions detailed in the Darlington Town Centre Footfall Strategy (2018).
(c) To contribute to the further economic wellbeing and vitality of the Town Centre.