Darlington Arts Centre to be Sold
3 July 2013
Reporter: Peter Lathan
Darlington Borough Council has decided that the town’s former Arts Centre will be put back on the market after it was revealed that the council is still having to pay £7,500 a month in repairs and other costs even though temporary tenants have been found for the building.
An earlier scheme, Project Vane (named after Vane Terrace in which the building stands), collapsed when developers who had hoped to convert the site into a hotel, restaurant and business units which were to subsidise a new community arts centre, were refused grants from the Regional Growth Fund and Arts Council towards the £11m cost.
Bill Dixon, the Leader of the Council, said, “It has now been a year since the centre was closed and for the sake of the residents and for the sake of Darlington for Culture, I think we now need to move the recommendation that effectively frees the site for disposal.”
Income from the sale of the building will be invested in other cultural enterprises in the borough, he said, and residents and community arts groups, such as Darlington for Culture, which has led the campaign to save the centre, will be consulted.
However it is possible that the council may have to repay a previous £500,000 grant from Arts Council to create a studio theatre in the building, although the council hopes that it will be allowed to keep the money if it is to be re-invested in the arts.
The building is in a conservation area but is not itself listed.