By Vanessa Wood
It’s great to see Darlington’s Central Park continue to thrive as a commercial neighbourhood and exciting plans are in place to further develop the area by 2030.
Central Park has already proved to be a success story with the introduction of new housing, a higher education campus and the addition of our very own centre, Business Central.
As a business centre, we’re playing our part in helping businesses thrive by hosting networking events and offering businesses access to support, funders and mentoring. In turn, we’re seeing businesses work together on projects in the region and collaboration is further being encouraged by our excellent transport links. Our central location – a stone’s throw from Darlington train station – brings businessmen and women to Darlington from the wider North East region and beyond to engage with our community.
With the success of Central Park so far, the council are continuing to invest in residential, commercial and educational developments to stimulate job creation and economic growth. This will be achieved by adding more commercial premises, new road infrastructure, green spaces and a public square.
The emergence of Darlington as an entrepreneurial centre means we can now create new opportunities for the future generations in our community. The additional provisions mentioned above and the new business hub means students and entrepreneurs can stay in the area to further their career, rather than leaving.
Businesses and Darlington residents have also welcomed the addition of fibre broadband to our historic market town – the improved connectivity has provided an environment to allow businesses and individuals improve their digital skills. This is essential when it comes to maintaining Central Park’s vision of attracting digital industries to the area.
Below I have outlined more detail on Central Park’s plans, with information and facts obtained from Darlington Borough Council.
More on Darlington’s Central Park plans:
As one of the regeneration flagship projects of the Tees Valley and one of the 12 sites which make up the Tees Valley Enterprise Zones, Central Park will continue with its aim to attract digital and biological industries to the area in line with the council’s vision.
An original masterplan was prepared in 2012 and since then work has started on the delivery of new houses in the northern section of the area. The revised masterplan gives more details of how the commercial business park in Central Park South will be delivered and draws all areas of the site into one plan. The main features of the plan include:
- A network of linked green spaces
- An Enterprise Zone to attract and support the growth of businesses
- A new cycle and pedestrian bridge over Parkgate
- Provision of a high quality business environment integrated with housing and higher education facilities
- A new formal public space called Central Square
- A wildlife reserve area for plants, birds and butterflies
The main changes to the original masterplan are the realignment of the spine road in the southern section of the site and the removal of housing land south of the university in favour of land for commercial development. This is in response to the success of the commercial developments currently on-site as well as its unique position in the Tees Valley and its status as an Enterprise Zone.
The refreshed masterplan does not propose any changes to the existing housing or educational campus – home to Darlington College and Teesside University.
The next phase of infrastructure is the construction of the new cycle and pedestrian bridge across Parkgate to provide an improved connection from Central Park to Darlington main station.
For more information visit Darlington Borough Council website.
It would be great to hear your thoughts on these plans.