Agenda item

Darlington Rail Heritage Quarter

Report of the Group Director of Services



The Group Director of Services submitted a report (previously circulated) requesting that Council release funding to enable the delivery of Darlington Rail Heritage Quarter (DRHQ).


The submitted report stated that the DRHQ is a major project that would invest in our rail heritage ahead of the bicentennial anniversary in 2025, to create a national visitor destination in Darlington. It was reported that heritage and cultural regeneration were now recognised as key ingredients in economic growth and that the DRHQ would complement the economic growth ambition of the Borough. 


The submitted report provided an update on the background and strategic case for the project, the project objectives, what is included in the project, an update on approvals, leases, and acquisitions to deliver the project, and the delivery timetable and financial strategy. Members were advised that the project was now at a position for Council to consider the approvals required for the delivery of the project.


RESOLVED - (a) That £0.54m funded from grants and contributions from external bodies be approved and released.


(b) That £2.2m from the Indigenous Growth Fund be approved and released, and that the use of £4.6m from the Towns Fund be noted.


(c) That £5.11m of capital funding that will be financed through prudential borrowing from within the existing MTFP resources allocated for the Head of Steam be approved and released.


(d) That £1.6m of capital funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) & £0.3m from the Arts Council England (ACE), subject to successful applications, be approved and released.  In the unlikely event that the bids are not successful then agree to underwrite the £1.9m of funding.


(e) That a further £1m, if the current project costs cannot be reduced further by value engineering, be released and underwritten.


REASONS - (a)To enable DRHQ to move forward to delivery, ensuring it is completed in time for the 2025 celebrations of 200 years of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.


(b) DRHQ has strong links to the Council vision contributing to the economic growth of the town, and Northgate in particular, and will be a key venue for 2025 celebrations, which will put Darlington and the wider region on the world map being a place to be truly proud of, demonstrating the Council’s commitment to valuing our heritage and culture.

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