Northern Echo building to be bought by Darlington Council

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image copyrightMiddleton Digital Photography
image captionThe council said the building in Priestgate was "iconic" in Darlington

A "beloved" building which has been the home of a newspaper for more than a century has been sold.

Darlington Borough Council has agreed terms for the purchase of the Northern Echo building and plans to convert part of it into apartments.

Newsquest, which owns the newspaper, said the premises was too big for its needs but it may retain some offices.

The council described the building in Priestgate as "instantly recognisable" to people from the town.

Plans include turning the upper offices into apartments, creating commercial space for local businesses and establishing an adults skills training centre.

The council said the project would be mainly financed by the Towns Fund.

'Changes to industry'

Council leader Heather Scott said: "The Echo building is one of our town's most iconic buildings - up there with the clock tower and Victorian covered market in terms of being instantly recognisable to Darlington people.

"There has long been speculation about the future of the building and I am delighted we'll be able to use money from the Towns Fund to acquire it and breathe new life into it, whilst always being respectful of its heritage."

The newspaper has been based in the building since 1917.

Northern Echo editor Karl Holbrook said: "Changes to our industry, particularly a rise in digital operations, and latterly a move towards more flexible working arrangements in the wake of the Covid pandemic, mean that our beloved Priestgate site is no longer suitable for our needs."

He added that new offices were being sought in the town, but that there was an option to remain in the building.

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