The Blackwell Meadows Community Sports Hub is a step closer to completion, as Darlington Borough Council has started work on the car park.
The hub, which is a joint programme between the club, Darlington Rugby Club and Darlington Football Club, is an expansion and improvement of the Blackwell Meadows ground, and will include new stands, changing room upgrades and a new car park.
Darlington Borough Council is supporting the project by providing a 250-space car park, which is joint-funded by the council and Sport England. Work on the car park is expected to be completed within four weeks (dependant on the weather).
Once the necessary safety certificates and FA approval has been obtained, ground-sharing between the two clubs can begin.
Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “It’s pleasing to see such great progress being made on the improvements to the Blackwell Meadows community sports hub, which I’m sure will lay the foundations for a long and successful partnership between the two clubs.
“All the infrastructure is in place for future growth. I will be proud to welcome Darlington FC back to the town, back where they belong, and I know I won’t be alone in that respect.”
Darlington FC has been playing its home games at Heritage Park, home of Bishop Auckland FC, following a fans’ takeover in 2012.
Darlington FC director John Tempest said: “The car park is the final piece in the stadium jigsaw here at Blackwell Meadows and everyone at the football and rugby club was delighted to see the work start.
“A huge thanks to the team from the council, who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
Michael Wilkinson, chairman of Darlington Rugby Club, said: “The new car park, and the other exciting developments that are taking place, will enable more people to access the facilities on offer here and boost sports participation across the board.”
Source: Darlington Borough Council