Work has today (15 August) begun to prepare the first buildings alongside Darlington railway station for demolition, paving the way for its £100million-plus redevelopment.
Works are now being undertaken by local firm Thompsons on a “soft strip” of properties to the east of the station, which involves removing any remaining contents and all non-structural elements of the interior and exterior, as well as ensuring the utilities are no longer connected.
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The heavy demolition, beginning on 1 September, will follow the soft strip and, as Darlington Borough Council takes possession of further properties, this process will continue in preparation for a start on the new build later this year.
As part of the transformation, the space currently occupied by the properties to the east of the station is earmarked to become an extension to the station, with the old and new sites linked by a bridge joining the historic train shed with the modern facility.
The redevelopment includes a multi-storey car park, transport interchange and gateway entrance connected to Central Park. New platforms will accommodate current and future services to ensure the town and wider Tees Valley has excellent transport links.
An upgrade to the Victoria Road entrance and car park pick-up and drop-off points on the western side of the station is also planned, alongside new road layouts, wider pavements and improvements to walking and cycling access to make the station easier to reach and provide good interchange facilities with other types of transport
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This all-important next step in overhauling Darlington station is now under way, a major building block for a fast, reliable and smooth rail service for the whole of the region.
“The new development will tie the station even more closely with the opportunities at Central Park and the upgrades to Victoria Road will improve the route to the exciting investments in the town centre and the new Darlington Economic Campus.
“The next phase of the work will come in a matter of days, not months, as efforts to clear the area and prepare it for redevelopment begin in earnest. This is a massive, transformative project and now the time for talk is over and we have to get on and deliver.
“As ever, our brilliant local companies are adding their expertise to the project, which will breathe new life into the station and its surroundings, unlock more capacity for faster and more reliable local and national services and give local people and businesses the rail links they’ve been crying out for.”
Cllr Jonathan Dulston, Leader of Darlington Borough Council and Combined Authority Cabinet Lead for Transport, said: “This is a truly landmark development with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority which will see a transformation of key gateway areas to our town and the wider region.
“Darlington’s rail links are part of what makes our borough, and the wider Tees Valley, a place where people and businesses want to live, work and invest. This scheme will enhance and vastly improve this part of town and bring it into line with the many other new developments happening across the area.
“Lots of work has gone on behind the scenes to reach this point and now residents and visitors will start to see very real changes as buildings start to come down, changes are made to car parking and much more, watch this space!”