Agenda item

Key Decision - Darlington Station Improvement Project

Report of the Group Director of Services.


The Leader, Cabinet Member with the Economy Portfolio and the Cabinet Member with the Local Services Portfolio introduced the report of the Group Director of Services (previously circulated) providing an update to Members on the Darlington Station Rail Improvement Project and requesting that consideration be given to the necessary approvals for the delivery phase of the project.


The submitted report stated that the Darlington Station Rail Improvement Project had been in development for several years and was primarily a strategic transport project that was a fundamental building block, in unlocking capacity on the east coast mainline and local rail network, delivering the actions contained within the Tees Valley Rail Strategy.  The project had potential to deliver numerous priorities including economic, social, and environmental benefits to the Borough, as well as to the Tees Valley region; improve rail capacity for both local and long-distance train services; improve facilities at the station and create two transport interchanges to integrate with other modes of transport; and help deliver the regeneration aspirations of the area and former cattle market site.


It was reported that the Council had progressed the design of the scheme and the land assembly through funding from the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA); Network Rail had progressed design work on the station and rail infrastructure with Department of Transport funding following the submission of a strong Outline Business Case; it was a major capital project being delivered in partnership with several organisations; and that the Final Business Case was now being prepared for submission to Government to fund the final scheme.


A Member in attendance at the meeting addressed Cabinet in respect of the timescales for the project and whether the project would be completed for the 2025 bicentenary railway celebrations; the costs and budget for the scheme; the design of the project and in particular the multi-storey car parks; and whether there was demand for the car parking.  Discussion ensued on the benefits of the project; concerns around the withdrawal of HS2 from the North; the proposals, by the Government, to close ticket offices and whether this would impact on the concourse; inflation pressures; labour shortages; and cycle parking at the station.  The Leader, Cabinet Member with the Economy Portfolio and the Group Director of Services responded thereon.


RESOLVED – (a)  That the progress on the project, be noted, and the submission of the Full Business Case by Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), be supported,  and the delivery of the project, as outlined in the submitted report, be approved.


(b)  That delegate authority be given to the Group Director of Services, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Group Director of Operations, to enter into the following agreements, subject to the matters identified in the report being satisfactorily addressed, namely:-


                                       (i)      a Funding Agreement with Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA);


                                     (ii)      works Contracts for the delivery of the Project;


                                   (iii)      an Asset Protection Agreement with Network Rail;


                                   (iv)      a sale agreement to dispose of land on the East side of the current station, in line with paragraph 20(c) of the submitted report, to Network Rail;


                                     (v)      a Temporary Lease Agreement with LNER to use the former Cattle Market site as a temporary car park;


                                   (vi)      station Change Agreement; and


                                  (vii)      any further agreements relating to the above.


(c)  That the commencement of demolition and enabling works for the Project, funded through TVCA, be approved, ahead of the main contract to ensure that the main contract can commence as soon as reasonably practicable upon approval of the Full Business Case.


(d)  That it be noted that the majority of funding to deliver the scheme be from the Department for Transport (DfT) and TVCA, with a contribution from the Towns Fund Programme for the Victoria Road interchange and that the following, be approved, namely:-

                                         (i)      the release of the funding received from TVCA and DfT to deliver the project; and


                                       (ii)      the release of £980,000 from the Towns Fund Programme.


REASON - To deliver a project that contributes to national, regional and local strategic transport and economic objectives that will bring economic, social and environmental benefits to the Borough, as well as to the Tees Valley Region.

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