Town centre office block taking shape

The Advertiser Series: Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon, centre, with Andrew McCully, left, of the Department for Education and project manager Shaun McNicholas, of building contractor Willmott Dixon Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon, centre, with Andrew McCully, left, of the Department for Education and project manager Shaun McNicholas, of building contractor Willmott Dixon

BUILDING work on an office block that will house 400 civil servants is well under way, with the steel frame starting to take shape.

Some 350 tonnes of steel will be used in the construction of the Department for Education (DfE) offices, which will adjoin Darlington Town Hall.

Steel for the 42,000 sq ft offices has been manufactured on Teesside and finished in Peterlee.

The installation of the framework follows two months of preparation works, in which 131 piles were driven and foundations set.

Work on the steel frame will take approximately eight weeks with the building set to be complete in early 2015.

The £8m development will accommodate about 400 DfE workers as they move out of their existing offices at Mowden Hall, ensuring that the 400 jobs stay in Darlington.

Situated behind the town hall, the new offices will form a ‘public sector hub’ which will allow the DfE and Darlington Borough Council to share facilities, such as reception and meeting rooms.

It is hoped that sharing a location will also allow joint apprenticeship schemes and shared career progression for staff across both organisations.

Council leader Bill Dixon said: “The installation of the steel work will give people a good indication of the physical scale of the building and will enable passers-by to begin to visualise what the offices will look like once complete.

“I am delighted to have been part of the process that has seen the protection of important jobs for Darlington; watching the building take shape gives the scheme a greater sense of reality and offers a huge boost to confidence in the town centre.”

DfE permanent secretary Chris Wormald added: “There are great opportunities for DfE to share services with the council and to create a really exciting and innovative partnership between central and local government.”

Comments (11)

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3:33pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Darloresident says...

Puffing Billy gets another photo opportunity..Please note the cost is given as 8 Million pounds.. I wonder what the final cost will be??? It will be interesting to see (if they are ever published and scrutinised) what the final figures are.All this incompetent showers projects come in late and over budget. So for early 2015 read end of 2015.This project has been funded by me and the other council tax payers. DBC will now be a commercial landlord.. NOT what I expect my hard earned money to be used for..especially as Lingfield Point is proving what a private landlord can do for the public sector..
Still - no one listens to me so why should I care..after all its only money.
Puffing Billy gets another photo opportunity..Please note the cost is given as 8 Million pounds.. I wonder what the final cost will be??? It will be interesting to see (if they are ever published and scrutinised) what the final figures are.All this incompetent showers projects come in late and over budget. So for early 2015 read end of 2015.This project has been funded by me and the other council tax payers. DBC will now be a commercial landlord.. NOT what I expect my hard earned money to be used for..especially as Lingfield Point is proving what a private landlord can do for the public sector.. Still - no one listens to me so why should I care..after all its only money. Darloresident

4:13pm Wed 26 Feb 14

D. Hop says...

This town is an absolute joke......
This town is an absolute joke...... D. Hop

4:44pm Wed 26 Feb 14

BMD says...

Main contractor is "Willmott Dixon" - No relation to Bill Dixon or a side-line company owned by Bill?
Main contractor is "Willmott Dixon" - No relation to Bill Dixon or a side-line company owned by Bill? BMD

6:47pm Wed 26 Feb 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

They need to get that steelwork bricked up quick before the locals from Yarm Road and Honeypot Lane nick it and weigh it in.
They need to get that steelwork bricked up quick before the locals from Yarm Road and Honeypot Lane nick it and weigh it in. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth

1:09am Thu 27 Feb 14

Spy Boy says...

I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange.

DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.
I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange. DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought. Spy Boy

9:48am Thu 27 Feb 14

miketually says...

Spy Boy wrote:
I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange.

DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.
The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there?

One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva.
[quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange. DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.[/p][/quote]The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there? One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva. miketually

1:09pm Thu 27 Feb 14

BMD says...

miketually wrote:
Spy Boy wrote: I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange. DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.
The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there? One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva.
Get yer heed out of that dark palce!

The Town centre project was the only option presented to the Dept for Education.

+

How long did it take the Minister to walk to Mowden Hall?
[quote][p][bold]miketually[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange. DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.[/p][/quote]The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there? One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva.[/p][/quote]Get yer heed out of that dark palce! The Town centre project was the only option presented to the Dept for Education. + How long did it take the Minister to walk to Mowden Hall? BMD

2:38pm Thu 27 Feb 14

miketually says...

BMD wrote:
miketually wrote:
Spy Boy wrote: I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange. DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.
The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there? One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva.
Get yer heed out of that dark palce!

The Town centre project was the only option presented to the Dept for Education.

+

How long did it take the Minister to walk to Mowden Hall?
Why did Lingfield Point not suggest their site?

+Perhaps their requirements have changed? Have you noticed they're not going to be at Mowden Hall anymore?
[quote][p][bold]BMD[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]miketually[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange. DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.[/p][/quote]The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there? One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva.[/p][/quote]Get yer heed out of that dark palce! The Town centre project was the only option presented to the Dept for Education. + How long did it take the Minister to walk to Mowden Hall?[/p][/quote]Why did Lingfield Point not suggest their site? +Perhaps their requirements have changed? Have you noticed they're not going to be at Mowden Hall anymore? miketually

5:14pm Thu 27 Feb 14

BMD says...

miketually says... Why did Lingfield Point not suggest their site?

I did, but it was squashed by Dixon and Chapman.

Have you noticed they're not going to be at Mowden Hall anymore?

So, no previous ministers visted Mowden Hall, because they couldnt walk there!

Your so blinded at the council waste the tax-payer has to pick-up.
miketually says... Why did Lingfield Point not suggest their site? I did, but it was squashed by Dixon and Chapman. Have you noticed they're not going to be at Mowden Hall anymore? So, no previous ministers visted Mowden Hall, because they couldnt walk there! Your so blinded at the council waste the tax-payer has to pick-up. BMD

11:12am Fri 28 Feb 14

miketually says...

"I did, but it was squashed by Dixon and Chapman."

But they didn't make the decision as to the site, surely the DFES did? The DFES could have chosen Lingfield Point, but didn't.

"So, no previous ministers visted Mowden Hall, because they couldnt walk there!"

As I said earlier, perhaps their requirements have changed.

"Your so blinded at the council waste the tax-payer has to pick-up."

Not at all.
"I did, but it was squashed by Dixon and Chapman." But they didn't make the decision as to the site, surely the DFES did? The DFES could have chosen Lingfield Point, but didn't. "So, no previous ministers visted Mowden Hall, because they couldnt walk there!" As I said earlier, perhaps their requirements have changed. "Your so blinded at the council waste the tax-payer has to pick-up." Not at all. miketually

6:03pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Spy Boy says...

miketually wrote:
Spy Boy wrote:
I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange.

DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.
The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there?

One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva.
The Lingfield Point website looks pretty good to me and has free parking.

Most people will use their cars anyway. ( Always loads at Mowden Hall. )

Who knows why the DfE won't go to Lingfield. The offer of a nice new office may appeal to some. Too many hidden agendas in Darlington.

I really can't imagine any minister using public transport, or ( God forbid ! ) walking, Mike.

But what about the speed ? Plans drawn up in less time than most people can get a plan done for a new garage. Sounds fishy. Sounds as though the plan was already in place long before, like I said.
[quote][p][bold]miketually[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: I can't believe just how fast this has gone ahead. Can anyone else ? What exactly is going on. Every other project seems to be on hold, but this rolling ahead at a rate of knots. Very strange. DBC's record on large projects would mean a massive cost rise on this one of up 100%. I still don't know why it's going up when there are spaces available, with free parking, at Lingfield Point. I still think that this was originally planned as an extension to the Town Hall to give Burns and Dixon Co Ltd a nice new suite of offices sometime in the not so distant future. Hence the speed of the plans etc. They already had them ? Just a thought.[/p][/quote]The (Tory-led) Dept for Education decided this was a suitable site. If Lingfield Point was suitable, do you not think they'd have gone there? One of their criteria was to do with ease of reaching the site via public transport from London. This is a short walk from the mainline station, while Lingfield Point would have required the minister to hop on the bus to Red Hall, which may be withdrawn or rerouted by Arriva.[/p][/quote]The Lingfield Point website looks pretty good to me and has free parking. Most people will use their cars anyway. ( Always loads at Mowden Hall. ) Who knows why the DfE won't go to Lingfield. The offer of a nice new office may appeal to some. Too many hidden agendas in Darlington. I really can't imagine any minister using public transport, or ( God forbid ! ) walking, Mike. But what about the speed ? Plans drawn up in less time than most people can get a plan done for a new garage. Sounds fishy. Sounds as though the plan was already in place long before, like I said. Spy Boy

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