An old school connection is helping to transform a derelict former petrol station into a retail and residential development.
Shop owner and property developer Major Singh, of Darlington, is building a food store and restaurant in West Auckland Road, Cockerton, on the outskirts of Darlington.
The striking two-storey building, which is being constructed by North East building company The Rok Group, will provide 3,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and five apartments, a mix of one/two bedrooms, on the first floor.
Mr Singh is a former pupil at Eastbourne School in Darlington, and he teamed up with another “old boy”, consultant civil and structural engineer David Hodgson, to overcome some of the engineering challenges posed by the £970,000 development.
The property is in a highly sensitive location, within Cockerton’s busy shopping area and on the A68, one of the busiest routes in and out of Darlington.
Mr Hodgson’s company, AMP Consultants, provided the detailed plans for the piled foundations and structural steel frame for the building, which needed to take account of not only the effects of underground fuel tanks left by the filling station, but the development’s impact on other retailers and a retaining wall, service road or adjacent businesses.
“While David and I were at Eastbourne a few years apart, it is nice that two old boys from the school are working together on what is very much a development by local companies providing much-needed facilities in this area of Darlington,” said Mr Singh.
Mr Singh hopes to name a tenant for the main shopping element, believed to be a national food retailer, very soon.