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£3.3m of funding secured for highways improvements

£3.3m of funding secured for highways improvements

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Darlington Borough Council has successfully secured £3.3m of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) to provide highways improvements that will support Darlington’s growing economy.

Darlington Borough Council has successfully secured £3.3m of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) to provide highways improvements that will support Darlington’s growing economy.

The funding from DfT’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) will be used on some of Darlington’s busiest routes to improve access to the town centre and sites around Central Park, Morton Palms and the Eastern Transport Corridor.

The improvements planned include:

  • McMullen Road/Yarm Road roundabout – extra lanes will be added to the roundabout to increase capacity and open up access to the proposed Ingenium Parc industrial hub.
  • Lingfield Way – the junction with Yarm Road will be signalised to ease access for traffic to and from Yarm Road Industrial Estate and support bus routes in the area. A new cycle route will be added to Lingfield Way.
  • Haughton Road through about – the junction will be changed to improve capacity to support the growth at Central Park, Lingfield and other parts of the town. This will include additional lanes, changes to pedestrian facilities and the way the junction works; moving towards a more conventional roundabout layout.

The project will link to planned investment announced by Highways England to reduce congestion at the A66 Morton Palms roundabout and complement works already underway along the A68, which will see improvements for Westpark, Faverdale and Cockerton.

This package of junction works follows comprehensive reviews of the traffic network to identify congestion hotspots and pinch points across the town that require improvements to support Darlington’s expanding economy.

A council spokeswoman said: “The funding secured by our highways team is great news for Darlington and helps to maintain the momentum that we have built up in terms of economic growth.

“As Darlington continues to thrive economically it will need changes to its infrastructure to support the new jobs and housing.

“The schemes supported by the NPIF will improve traffic flow on the local highway network and unlock key sites for development, which can be used to create greater job opportunities for residents.”       

New era for Darlington markets

New era for Darlington markets

Friday, September 08, 2017

A NEW era in Darlington’s market town history is set to begin after a deal was signed between Darlington Borough Council and a private market operator.

A NEW era in Darlington’s market town history is set to begin after a deal was signed between Darlington Borough Council and a private market operator.

A 100-year lease has been signed with specialist market operator Market Asset Management (MAM), to take over operation of both the town’s Open and Covered Markets.

MAM has committed to significant investment into the Covered Market and Old Town Hall buildings with plans for improvements which will introduce new uses and extend opening hours into the evenings and weekend, with expansion of the Open Market operation. Ownership of the buildings remains with the Council, but MAM is responsible for maintenance and staffing.

Darlington’s historic Covered Market is a Grade II-listed building and alterations will be subject to approval by government conservation agency Historic England and Council consent.

MAM will work with existing traders and stakeholders over the next few months to finalise plans for the works. These will be implemented on a phased programme which ensures continuity of trade for stallholders.

Improvements will include a fully-glazed frontage to West Row to increase visibility for stalls inside the building. Public toilets will be provided within the building with improved lighting and heating, a foodcourt and events space for community use.

MAM will be working closely with existing stallholders during the redesign of the market hall and providing them with additional support to promote their offer from day one.

Jonathan Owen, a Director of MAM, said: “We are immensely enthusiastic about this venture and delighted with the support we have received from the Council. We look forward to working with the stallholders and traders to ensure the Markets sell Darlington town centre as a vibrant, exciting place to visit. The partnership is structured to create a key attraction which differentiates the town from competing attractions and promotes it as a retail and leisure destination with a difference.

“Our business is based on the trading success of our stallholders and traders. The improvements will provide better facilities, promotion and support to help them grow. We are acutely aware of the challenges which small businesses face and will be offering practical experience from elsewhere to support them”.

MAM is a looking to strengthen the Open Market and attracting new stallholders to the town by using its connections from elsewhere in the country.

Options include expanding the number of days the outdoor market operates in the town and a review of its location, perhaps moving it closer to the Covered Market building. MAM will be working with the Council to bring specialist Market attractions into the town and will take a key role in providing events and entertainment in the town centre.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Leisure and Local Environment, said: “As a Council we believe that the time is right for a step change in the way our markets operate and feel this can be best achieved by partnering with an experienced private sector operator. 

“MAM have that experience and they will get the full support of the Council to help them deliver our vision for Darlington Markets, which is to create a thriving place where people want to come and buy good produce and enjoy themselves. 

“Darlington is a market town and we believe this change will help promote Darlington town centre. The plans by MAM show a building that will be brought to life. The wider use of the Market Hall will attract more visitors and provide more customers for the stallholders in the market who will remain the backbone of the Covered Market.” 

Councillor Chris McEwan, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, added: “These are exciting times for Darlington town centre and I would encourage everyone to get behind our town centre and Markets by shopping, dining and socialising local.”

Plans for rail heritage celebrations win key support

Plans for rail heritage celebrations win key support

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

PLANS for a major celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway have won the backing of key partners.

PLANS for a major celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway have won the backing of key partners.

Heritage organisations and rail companies have thrown their support behind the proposals to celebrate the milestone date and create a rail heritage legacy that visitors to Darlington and the wider Tees Valley can enjoy for generations.     

The Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) has committed to leading the regeneration of Darlington’s North Road Heritage Quarter with the aim of creating a world class visitor experience that tells the story of the world’s first passenger railway.

A joint bid has also been made to Historic England by Darlington Borough Council, Stockton Borough Council and Durham County Council with TVCA to create a Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) based on the route of the original railway.

If successful, Historic England would prioritise its resources and expertise to the HAZ over a five year period, potentially unlocking grants and funding to deliver heritage regeneration projects along the track bed.

The plans to celebrate the 200th anniversary form the cornerstone of a wider visitor economy strategy for the town, which has been named Experience Darlington.

The aim of the strategy is to bring together Darlington’s key assets, including its rail heritage and revamped theatres, to make the town a visitor destination, generating up to £26m for the local economy.

The strategy has won support from a wide range of organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Network Rail, Northern Rail, the A1 Trust and the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Leisure and Local Environment, said: “The support from the Tees Valley Combined Authority is a huge boost to the plans to mark the 200th anniversary of the world’s first passenger railway.

 

“We have always said we had great ambitions for these celebrations and the support we have received from a number of heritage organisations and rail companies is testament to the importance of the anniversary.

“These plans are not just about 2025, however. We are looking to transform the North Road area and create an attraction that will continue to bring visitors to the town long after the anniversary celebrations.

“We will continue to work hard with our partners at Tees Valley Combined Authority, Stockton Borough Council and Durham County Council, to bring in external sources of funding to ensure the celebrations in 2025 will have an ongoing legacy.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:  “We are delighted to be working with Darlington, Stockton and Durham Councils to ensure that full advantage is taken of the unique railway heritage this area has.

“I am committed to working with all stakeholders to maximise the cultural and economic opportunity for the area and am in the early stages of developing the detailed plans for the 2025 200th Anniversary of the first passenger railway, which brings with it national and international visitor potential.”

A “byte” to eat for free - digital support at Darlington Business Week

A “byte” to eat for free - digital support at Darlington Business Week

Monday, September 04, 2017

THE IMPORTANCE of technology in an ever- changing business environment is covered in a range of free workshops during Darlington’s first ever Business Week.

THE IMPORTANCE of technology in an ever- changing business environment is covered in a range of free workshops during Darlington’s first ever Business Week taking place from Monday 18 – Friday 22 September.

Cyber crime, data protection, developing a business using modern technology as well as practical advice and information on how to set up networks and online sales and marketing, are amongst the workshops on offer.

As the old traditional metal filing cabinets hit the scrap heap, businesses are becoming more and more reliant on digital technology to store commercial information and to carry out day to day business, laying themselves open to the potential problem of a cyber attack and other issues around data protection. To help businesses overcome this, a workshop will take place on the first day of Darlington Business Week, Monday 18 September from 1-4pm at Business Central.

As well as potential problems around online security, digital technology brings with it the power to transform a business. This is explored in a morning workshop presented by Digital City on Wednesday 20 September at Teesside University Darlington Campus. This event will show how traditional businesses are using technology to become more efficient and profitable and will include relevant case studies.

A free “byte” to eat is on offer for businesses attending an IT systems workshop on Wednesday 20 September from 11am-1pm at Business Central. This will cover software options and back-up solutions. Later in the day, also at Business Central, advice and information will be on offer at an online sales and marketing session.

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Economy and Marketing said:

“Digital technology is advancing at an alarming rate and businesses must keep up to date if they want to develop and remain competitive. These workshops cover a wide range of work areas under the digital umbrella and will be useful to new and established businesses.”

Places on the workshops are free and can be booked by following the links from:

www.darlington.gov.uk/businessweek the page also details other events throughout the week.

For more information on Darlington Business Week, call the business team on 406305 or email business.support@darlington.gov.uk

Views invited on major business development site in Darlington

Views invited on major business development site in Darlington

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Residents and businesses are invited to have their say on the development of the Ingenium Parc masterplan, which could potentially see the creation over the long term of over 2,000 jobs for Darlington. Ingenium Parc is a key site earmarked previously for economic use within Darlington and is one of the top five Economic Growth priorities for the Borough. Covering an area of 40 hectares off Salters Lane (near Yarm Road), the site is close to a number of established advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses.

Residents and businesses are invited to have their say on the development of the Ingenium Parc masterplan, which could potentially see the creation over the long term of over 2,000 jobs for Darlington.

Ingenium Parc is a key site earmarked previously for economic use within Darlington and is one of the top five Economic Growth priorities for the Borough.

Covering an area of 40 hectares off Salters Lane (near Yarm Road), the site is close to a number of established advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses.

With transport links to the A66, the site is ideally placed to support the long term growth of manufacturing, engineering and logistics/distribution sectors.

The masterplan will guide the future development of the site to be an attractive environment and a great place to do business.

As part of this process the Council has commissioned a number of different pieces of work to help us understand the site, ranging from ground conditions and habitat to transport links, to ensure we have the complete picture. The outcomes from this, along with the views received from residents and businesses, will help inform the final masterplan.

This ambitious long term development will be delivered in phases and could start as soon as January 2018, depending on the planning process and agreement from senior councillors. The first phase has the potential to unlock eleven hectares and the opportunity to accommodate up to 1,100 jobs by 2021.

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, said:

“With our excellent transport links and other benefits, Darlington has huge potential for economic growth. Ingenium Parc is an exciting opportunity and will help us to unlock more of this potential and put the borough on the map as place where businesses want to develop, invest and succeed.”

The Council is seeking views on the proposed masterplan, which can be viewed online at http://www.darlington.gov.uk/ingeniumparc

Potential work as part of phase 1 could include Yarm Road roundabout improvements, Salters Lane South upgrade and installation of infrastructure and services.  Subject to approval from both Cabinet and the planning department, this work could start early next year with completion by the end of 2019.

First development plots could be available from 2019/20. Any businesses/investors interested in the site are asked to contact the Council’s Business Investment Team.

Comments or queries can be emailed to economic.projects@darlington.gov.uk or posted to Economic Projects Team, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT.  Two consultation events, one for residents and one for businesses, will be held in September, dates are on the Ingenium Parc website.

Comments to be included in the masterplan need to be received by 26 September 2017.

Finalised plans will be put to Cabinet for consideration in October. 

Residents and businesses are invited to have their say on the development of the Ingenium Parc masterplan, which could potentially see the creation over the long term of over 2,000 jobs for Darlington.

Ingenium Parc is a key site earmarked previously for economic use within Darlington and is one of the top five Economic Growth priorities for the Borough.

Covering an area of 40 hectares off Salters Lane (near Yarm Road), the site is close to a number of established advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses.

With transport links to the A66, the site is ideally placed to support the long term growth of manufacturing, engineering and logistics/distribution sectors.

The masterplan will guide the future development of the site to be an attractive environment and a great place to do business.

As part of this process the Council has commissioned a number of different pieces of work to help us understand the site, ranging from ground conditions and habitat to transport links, to ensure we have the complete picture. The outcomes from this, along with the views received from residents and businesses, will help inform the final masterplan.

This ambitious long term development will be delivered in phases and could start as soon as January 2018, depending on the planning process and agreement from senior councillors. The first phase has the potential to unlock eleven hectares and the opportunity to accommodate up to 1,100 jobs by 2021.

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, said:

“With our excellent transport links and other benefits, Darlington has huge potential for economic growth. Ingenium Parc is an exciting opportunity and will help us to unlock more of this potential and put the borough on the map as place where businesses want to develop, invest and succeed.”

The Council is seeking views on the proposed masterplan, which can be viewed online at http://www.darlington.gov.uk/ingeniumparc

Potential work as part of phase 1 could include Yarm Road roundabout improvements, Salters Lane South upgrade and installation of infrastructure and services.  Subject to approval from both Cabinet and the planning department, this work could start early next year with completion by the end of 2019.

First development plots could be available from 2019/20. Any businesses/investors interested in the site are asked to contact the Council’s Business Investment Team.

Comments or queries can be emailed to economic.projects@darlington.gov.uk or posted to Economic Projects Team, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT.  Two consultation events, one for residents and one for businesses, will be held in September, dates are on the Ingenium Parc website.

Comments to be included in the masterplan need to be received by 26 September 2017.

Finalised plans will be put to Cabinet for consideration in October. 

Have your say on Tees Valley road network improvements

Have your say on Tees Valley road network improvements

Monday, July 10, 2017

A series of public engagement sessions is being held to highlight the extensive improvements planned to the Tees Valley road network.

A series of public engagement sessions is being held to highlight the extensive improvements planned to the Tees Valley road network.

The events will set out proposals for enhanced road transport connections, including a new Tees Crossing to take pressure off the A19 Tees Viaduct and upgraded east-west connectivity with improvements to the A66 between the A1(M) and Teesport, which includes a new Darlington bypass.

This marks the end of an intensive process of analysis and option development, funded by the Department for Transport and supported by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, the five local councils and Highways England.  The events will set out the proposals for investment, as a critical part of the Northern Powerhouse, and for a modern and accessible road network.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:  “When I was first elected Mayor, my first instruction to the team was that everything we do on transport has to put the passenger or motorist first. My view is simple: if it doesn’t help the traveller, or the business shifting goods, then we shouldn’t be doing it. 

“I urge members of the public to come view our ambitious plans for a safer, more reliable road network. If we get this right, and with your help, the opportunities for our area are unlimited.”

Chair of Tees Valley Combined Authority Transport Committee Bill Dixon said:  “For far too long residents of Tees Valley have suffered from frustrating delays where our major roads are not equipped to deal with the volume of traffic.

“These impressive plans will make Tees Valley an even better place to live, work and do business.”

The details of the events are as follows:-

• The Arc, Dovecot Street, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 1LL – Wednesday 12th July 2017 2-6pm

• The Dolphin Centre, Darlington, DL1 5RP – Thursday 13th July 2017 1-6pm

• Central Square, Hillstreet Centre (next to Superdrug), Middlesbrough TS1 1SU – Friday 14th July 12-4pm

•  Redcar and Cleveland Community Heart, Ridley Street, Redcar TS10 1TD – Saturday 15th July 10am-4pm

For more details about the plans click here.

Drivers urged to give cyclists space in new road safety campaign

Drivers urged to give cyclists space in new road safety campaign

Monday, July 03, 2017

Motorists are being urged to give cyclists more room when overtaking with the launch of a new road safety campaign designed to eradicate ‘close pass’ drivers.

Motorists are being urged to give cyclists more room when overtaking with the launch of a new road safety campaign designed to eradicate ‘close pass’ drivers.
Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) is being joined by police, fire officers, and the Police and Crime Commissioners from both Cleveland and Durham, in the regional initiative to help safeguard cyclists and educate road-users about safer overtaking.
Pedal cyclists only account for about 1% of the total miles driven and ridden around the region – yet they make up 8% of road traffic casualties and 13% of serious injuries.
Road Safety GB North East is launching the campaign at a time when collisions and injuries involving cyclists typically increases.
Cyclist casualties in the region peak in July, August and September, with around a third of all collisions involving bikes happening over the summer months.
Between 2012 and 2016 there were 3,044 cyclists reported as injured on North East roads. However, actual numbers could be much higher as incidents resulting in slight injuries, or where no other vehicle was involved, are unlikely to be reported to police.
Paul Watson, Chairman of RSGB NE, said: “During the summer, we see cyclist casualties increase, but the majority of collisions are preventable.
“If everyone was a little more cautious and alert, slowed down and gave each other space, a lot of accidents could be avoided.
“I don’t believe drivers knowingly put cyclists at risk, but perhaps they’re not looking for them, or maybe they are unaware of the dangers of close pass overtaking.
“People overtaking too close to cyclists is a cause of a number of collisions, however, there may be numerous near misses that we know nothing about. We are asking all road-users to look out for each other and to help safeguard cyclists.”
Cleveland and Durham Road Policing Unit have received a Close Pass safety mat from national cycling group Cycling UK, which they will use to demonstrate to drivers the minimum space they should allow when overtaking bikes.
Motorists should leave at least 1.5m of space between their vehicle and the cyclist when overtaking at speeds less than 30mph, and this should be greater in poor weather conditions or when the car is travelling at speed.
In the coming weeks, officers will take the mat to events across the North East to demonstrate safe passing distance in the hope that ‘close pass’ incidents decrease.
Failing to look properly, by either the driver or the cyclist, is the most common cause of cycle-related collisions – accounting for three quarters – and men aged between 35 and 44 are the most at-risk group.

Advice for drivers:

·          Take a second longer at junctions and roundabouts to look for cyclists

·          Look over your shoulder to check your blind spot before pulling out

·          Give cyclists at least 1.5m when overtaking, more in poor weather or when travelling at speed

·          Look over your shoulder before opening the car door, or try doing it with your left hand

·          Be patient when travelling behind cyclists if it’s unsafe to overtake

·          Be prepared for cyclists to move across the lane to avoid a hazard or take a corner

Advice for cyclists:

·          Be seen. Use reflectors and ensure your lights are working in the dark/poor weather

·          When preparing to turn left at a junction, don’t travel along the left side of a lorry

·          Position yourself in the centre of the lane at junctions and roundabouts

·          Ride on the left edge of the traffic flow – at least 0.75m away from the kerb

·          Look for drivers to react to you. If you don’t see a reaction, they may not have seen you

·          Avoid riding or waiting in blind spots

·          Overtake vehicles on the right-hand side when oncoming traffic allows

Ron Hogg, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I am very supportive of this important campaign. There are too many accidents on our roads involving cyclists. The advice being offered to drivers and cyclists can really help to reduce casualties.”

£50,000 investment for Beanies

£50,000 investment for Beanies

Thursday, February 02, 2017

As reported in the Darlington & Stockton Times Beanies secures £50,000 for investment

A FLAVOURED coffee manufacturer has invested in additional machinery and extended its premises to keep up with demand.

Beanies The Flavour Company secured almost £50,000 from the Tees Valley Capital Grant Scheme to grow its business at Faverdale in Darlington.

The company, which was formed in 2012, produces more than 30 flavours of coffee for sale at leading UK and international supermarkets, local retailers and online.

Mark Porteous, Beanies finance director, said: "Having developed a successful brand over the past four years we were looking for some support to continue our growth. The Tees Valley Capital Grant Scheme has allowed us to make the investment needed to take Beanies to the next level.

Darlington based DeepOcean will transport and install cables for Dong Energy's Hornsea Project One development

Darlington based DeepOcean will transport and install cables for Dong Energy's Hornsea Project One development

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Darlington based DeepOcean has secured a contract to support what is claimed to be the world's largest offshore wind farm.

Bosses say the agreement, described as a multi-million pound contract, will support around 150 North-East jobs.

DeepOcean, which also operates a marine site in South Bank, near Middlesbrough, has previously acted for Dong on its Race Bank and Walney Extension projects.

He said: “We are delighted to be further developing our relationship with Dong Energy.

“We have invested heavily in class-leading installation and trenching technology with a strong focus on both safety and productivity.

“This award will safeguard 150 jobs in Darlington and the surrounding area as well as enabling us to offer significant opportunities to the UK supply chain.”

Last week, The Northern Echo reported how Triton would become DeepOcean’s largest shareholder, with bosses saying the new owner will support the company’s growth in the coming years.

Dong says Hornsea Project One, based 75 miles off the Yorkshire coast, will be capable of supplying electricity to more than one million homes. 

Applicants sought for new Tees Valley Digital Strategy Board

Applicants sought for new Tees Valley Digital Strategy Board

Thursday, November 03, 2016

People with a passion for digital are being sought to help drive forward the tech industries in the Tees Valley.

Led by DigitalCity, a new Digital Strategy Board is being created to strengthen the digital cluster further within the region and help develop digital skills.

The Digital Strategy Board will consist of up to 20 people and will work alongside the Tees Valley Combined Authority to develop policies and initiatives to push the digital agenda within the region.

There will be an equal number of men and women on the board.

There will also be at least two members from each of the five authority areas which make up the Tees Valley.

The Tees Valley already has an outstanding reputation for its tech industries.

Middlesbrough and Stockton are ranked at number 16 in a list of the UK’s digital hotspots by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the only hotspot north of Birmingham.

DigitalCity, which is based at Teesside University, is acknowledged as a major catalyst for economic regeneration in the Tees Valley.

It has already helped create hundreds of new companies, as well as working with existing business to improve their digital skills.

Rob Earnshaw, Director of DigitalCity, said: “These are very exciting times, there are some fantastic companies in the Tees Valley doing really interesting work.

“The digital cluster is already very effective at innovating and creating jobs.

“This Digital Strategy Board will look at ways to help them do this even better.

“We’re hoping to recruit the most passionate people to work alongside and influence the combined authority.

“You don’t necessarily have to be a director of a digital business, but just have a real desire to see digital success within the Tees Valley.

“Board members will help create a talent pool for tech companies and look at ways to strengthen the appeal of the area to digital businesses.”

Mayor David Budd, Chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, added: “A successful digital strategy is a key part of our economic plan for the region and we are very excited about working closer with the digital sector to develop the future of the digital landscape.”

Applicants to the voluntary role would be asked to commit to attending monthly meetings of the board.

To apply, please send a copy of your CV to daniel.watson@tees.ac.uk by 30 November.