Report of the Chief Executive.
The Cabinet Member with the Resources Portfolio introduced the report of the Chief Executive (previously circulated) requesting that consideration be given to commencing the land assembly for the development of a mixed-use residential and commercial site in the area highlighted on the plan (also previously circulated) through negotiated acquisitions with current landowners; the commencement of a Compulsory Purchase Order where a negotiated position cannot be achieved; and to the use of funding from Darlington’s Town Fund Programme for officers to undertake preliminary surveys and to seek outline planning permission for the proposal.
It was reported that in accordance with the Town Centre Strategy and Darlington’s Town Fund Programme the development of residential properties within and adjacent to the town centre was a clear priority to revitalise the town centre by addressing derelict buildings and vacant land. To date there had been several notable successes in the delivery of this ambition including the former sport direct site, which had been acquired and the redundant building on the site demolished to present a cleared site for future development, and the Northern Echo building, which had been acquired and work had commenced to transform this building into an Adult Training Hub on the ground floor and high-quality office space on the upper floors.
The submitted report stated that the site highlighted area included Kendrew Street car park which was within Council ownership; several privately owned buildings; and Northgate House, which had been empty for several years. Officers had been negotiating with the owners for the Council to acquire the building based on independent valuations, however those negotiations had been unsuccessful.
Commencement of the Town Fund Programme had enabled officers to commission some early design work, which considered possible development options for the area and the options considered included the creation of residential and mixed-use development with the inclusion of green spaces and active travel options. The designs were merely indicative of what could be achieved at this stage and it would continue to be developed resulting in a comprehensive design solution for the project area.
RESOLVED – (a) That officers commence land assembly for the development of a mixed-use residential and commercial site in the area as highlighted at Appendix 1 to the submitted report.
(b) That it be noted that the detailed design for the scheme would continue, producing a comprehensive preferred scheme.
(c) That the negotiated acquisitions of properties from current landowners, be approved, and the Chief Executive be authorised to negotiate full terms in consultation with the Cabinet Member with the Resources Portfolio and the terms be reported subsequently on the Schedule of Transactions.
(d) That officers be authorised to prepare a draft Compulsory Purchase Order and schedule of interests to be acquired for the acquisition of any properties which could not be acquired by agreement.
(e) That the Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Assistant Director Law and Governance be authorised to deal with any related matters and associated documents accordingly.
REASON - To accelerate the building of new homes and the revitalisation of the town centre.