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Approval for £200m Darlington Central Park development
COUNCILLORS have approved £200m plans to revitalise an area of Darlington waste ground into a 500-home estate and business hub, despite criticism the proposals fail to cater for a serious lack of primary school places.
Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee yesterday backed detailed proposals for 321 houses and six two-bed apartment units on a 22.5-hectare former allotment and depot site in Central Park, between Haughton Road and Yarm Road.
The area already houses Darlington College and the University of Teesside campus, with outline proposals also agreed for 180 further homes, offices, and a restaurant and cafe, which could create up to 2,000 jobs.
The first phase of work is expected to start in March 2013.
However, Councillor Alan Macnab, a governor at Longfield Academy of Sport, told the meeting he feared the plans were short-sighted as they failed to include a new primary school.
He said: “Darlington has an acute shortage of primary school places and I am concerned where the children from these new homes will go.
“There will be very few surplus school places in the immediate area in the future.
“This is a fundamental aspect of the development, I want to see it go ahead, but there has to be provision for education.”
Councillor Bill Stenson, ward member for Mowden, also raised concerns over a lack of places.
He said: “I would have thought a development of this size should have a school put in.
“It is a bit frightening to think people will be moving in thinking there are school places readily available, when there might not be.”
However, councillors approved the plans after being told by planning officials that it was advantageous working started quickly, particularly as the town’s educational landscape was continuously changing.