Report of the Chief Executive.
The Cabinet Member with the Economy Portfolio introduced the report of the Chief Executive (previously circulated) requesting that consideration be given to the release of funding to produce a detailed feasibility and business case for the development of a speculative Grade A office building on the former Sports Direct site on East Street Darlington, and to further discussions with the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) regarding their contribution to the project including the intended use of the £4M allocated to Darlington as part of the TVCA investment plan.
The submitted report stated that the Council acquired the former Sports Direct site for £625,000 in 2020; the derelict building was demolished to create a cleared site for development; the acquisition and clearance works were funded by the TVCA Indigenous Growth Fund (IGF); it was proposed to develop a circa 25,000 square foot grade A office building on the site to accommodate the ongoing investment enquiries; in order to commence the development a detailed business case would need to be produced to establish the construction costs, determine the viability and demand for office space within the town; and in order to produce the detailed feasibility and business case for the development, it was requested that £150,000 be allocated to the project from the Economic Growth Initiative Fund. It was assumed that TVCA funding of £4M would be released subject to due process and that a further £6M would be required from other funding sources.
RESOLVED – (a) That £0.150M for the detailed business case be funded from the Economic Growth Initiative Fund.
(b) That delegated authority be given to the Assistant Director of Economic Growth to enter into the grant funding agreements on the terms, as set out in the submitted report.
REASONS – (a) To attract more professional, business and office-based jobs to the centre of Darlington contributing to Town Centre vitality.
(b) To enable the project to advance in line with the desired timetable.
DELEGATIONS - The delegation sought is to enable the preliminary feasibly and business case to advance to ensure the necessary project timetable can be adhered to.