Darlington Pedestrian Heart is an example of how appropriate public realm investment can enable a market town to transform not only its image, but also the quality of life for its people.
The Darlington Pedestrian Heart project opened in summer 2007. The scheme aimed to bring people back, encourage an improved retail offer, and attract new investment and development in the town. Darlington wanted to maintain its competitive edge as one of the main shopping destinations in the Tees Valley.
The scheme involved rationalising bus access and improving pedestrian provision within a large part of the town centre. It was focused around the historic market hall and market square, and included the unique three-level street at High Row/West Row. Bus routes were considerably reconfigured, with a bus-only gate maintaining excellent bus penetration into the centre. All private car parking is provided on the edge of the core.
Over two years after opening, the scheme is considered a major success. Footfall has increased and the improvements have been cited as the reason why a number of significant retail landlords have invested further in the town.
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