Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bus station update

As you may have seen from the Northern Echo, plans are being pulled together to demolish the derelict bus station in Feethams.

And not before timne, you may feel. The bus station has been closed for at least 10 years, and since then first United and then Arriva have been using it purely as a garage. Although the garage is owned by the Council, Arriva have had a long lease which pretty much allowed them to do as they wished with the building.

So although the Council(and many passengers) were very disappointed that the bus station closed in the 1990's, there was nothing practically that could be done about it. It's positive, however, that Arriva have now agreed to be bought out, and the eyesore will be demolished.

What will replace the bus station is still very much a matter for discussion, although with some of the Beaumont Streetv East car park about to disappear under a new office building, in the short term some more temporary car parking may be necessary.

The site itself may have important archaeological remains beneath - a former Borough Engineer showed me drill samples taken over the years which suggested a layer of crushed wood a few feet below the surface. Whilst you may think that nothing could have survived the buidling of the bus station, in fact the floor is a concrete floor resting on pillars driven into the marshy soil.

Victorians speculated that Darlington was originally a Saxon burgh, which would have included a wooden pallisade around it. This could have built at Feethams, where some amateur archaology in the nineteenth century suggested there were remains of interest.

I'll be keeping a watching brief on this as events unfold.


Ian White, townliar.com said...

Nick, you say
"now that Ariva have been bought out"
Do you mean the lease?
If so is it DBC that have bought them out?
Guess what the next question is...

Anonymous said...

This is entirely irrelevant to this topic (and a bit cheekily nosey of me, I know!) - but I'd be very interested to know what your 'day job' is, and how you find the time to fit all your council and cabinet duties in around it?

Anonymous said...

Yeah and what is a "down to earth socialist?"

ian holme said...

Sure everyone is agreed that redevelopment of the site is desperately needed. I just hope that whatever is proposed, some form of coach stop is incorporated. For anyone visiting the town by coach, your first impression is being dumped on the roadside alongside the Dolphin centre. As a pick-up point it is even worse, with no seating and precious little cover from the elements.
Or perhaps we could incorp. a town garden as a central oasis of tranquility so close to the bustling town centre.....ideal for all those overworked employees of the town hall to rest on a lunchtime.....ok, ott, but maybe food for thought

Anonymous said...

As the first 'irrelevant' Anonymous, I would like to point out that the second Anonymous comment was not mine...

Darlington Councillor said...

Okay, in order;

(1) Ian, I'll post again when I have more information on the lease issue - sometimes these things are covered, at least initially, by commercial confidentiality clauses, frustrating I know, but a standard piece of business operation.

(2) Anonymous 1# - I'm a Family Court Adviser working for Cafcass in Middlesbrough. In lay language, I'm a civil servant who acts as a Court social worker, advising the Court on matters regarding the future of children who are the subject of cases.

I specialise in private law. So for example, when separated parents cannot agree with whom their children should live, or what the contact arrangements should be, and they go to Court, I try to help the parents come to a joint decision in the best interests of their children. Where they can't agree, I make a recommendation to the Court, and then it's for the Judge or the Magistrates to hear the evidence and rule on the future.

How do I fit the Council and work sides of my life? - well, by working evenings and at weekends (mostly Sundays in my case). I'm fortunate in that I have good employers as far as time for Council duties are concerned, and there is some flexibility in the sense that I am to some extent in control of my own diary. Having the Blackberry allows me to get some key Council work done when I'm between appointments, or sitting waiting for a Hearing a Court, for example.

Most crucially, my family are incredibly tolerant of the huge time commitments I have.

(3) Anonymous 2# (by the way, this silly charade would be sorted if people simply used their own names), the Down-to-Earth Socialist thing was an attempted jibe by someone on the Tories' Darlington Future site. I thought I'd wear it as a badge of honour, given that I'm hardly on the Bennite wing of the Party!

(4) Ian H - I entirely take your point, and no doubt the working group that was set up after the withdrawal of the Tesco scheme will continue to scrutinise the future of this key site.

Anonymous#1 said...

Thanks for that Nick, most interesting - I couldn't do all that myself!