Former nightclub and Sports Direct warehouse to be demolished in 2022

Restoration work has began on Darlington’s Crown Street Library – and a neighbouring former two-storey nightclub and warehouse is set to be knocked down to aid with the refurbishment. The Grade II listed library will be restored to its former glory during a 15-month restoration programme which will include roof covering and key heritage features like decorative plasterwork. To assist with access for re-roofing, the adjacent vacant building – which once housed a two-storey nightclub and Sports Direct warehouse – will be torn down[1].

Go here[2] for more Darlington news and updates from Darlington Live In September, the head of planning, development management and environmental health at Darlington Council determined the demolition of the former nightclub and Sports Direct warehouse does not require approval from the council. The East Street site was bought by Darlington Council[3] and earmarked for future development in the town – although the extent and type of proposals are not yet known.

An exact demolition date has not been set, however, the council has confirmed it is looking to knock down the building in early 2022. The original building was constructed in the mid 1960s and housed the Magnet 10 Pin Bowling Alley and two-storey nightclub. When the bowling alley ceased trading in the early mid-1970s, it was taken over by the Magnet Furniture Group and used as a retail showroom and depot while the nightclub section of the building remained.

The Darlington[4] building was taken over by Sports Direct until the company moved premises.

Crown Street Library renovation

Work on the library is now ongoing which will see decoration throughout refreshed and consideration will be made to attract a more diverse audience with areas for school and education groups as well as older people. There will also be improvements to the library’s[5] digital infrastructure and a general refresh of the internal area. The council says public consultations, carried out as part of the pre-planning process, have been instrumental in developing the new internal design, which will see the retention and return of some original heritage features throughout the building.

The popular Crown Street Art Gallery will be retained with a dedicated area to showcase pieces from the Borough Art Collection. While toilet facilities will be modernised with additional facilities including a fully accessible toilet and a family-friendly space. Pavement closures along East Street, Crown Street and Priestgate will be necessary for the scaffolding required to carry out the work on the roof and are scheduled to be in place from today (Monday, November 22) until early 2023.

Crown Street Library

However, the library will remain open with diversions and crossing points in place to enable access via two of the three entrances, depending on the location of the internal works being undertaken.

Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for local services, said: “This is an exciting new chapter for Darlington Library’s Crown Street building, which dates back to 1885. “We’ve worked closely with library users and others to develop a programme of restoration that will retain many of its historic features while also upgrading facilities for the modern age. “Obviously, some areas of the library will need to be closed while work is carried out and we would ask users to be patient during this period.

“Our staff have worked tirelessly during the Covid 19 pandemic to maintain as many services a possible and I have no doubt they will rise to the latest challenge as we work to bring you a new, revitalised library.”

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