Almost £1m is to be spent on road improvements in Darlington to support the expansion of “pavement café culture” and businesses in the area.
The proposals are aimed at moving away from “the declining, traditional retail space”, a council report said.
The council approved the plans for Coniscliffe Road, which its hoped will spark economic growth in the town, reports the BBC.
Some £700,000 will come from the Tees Valley Indigenous Growth Fund, with £240,000 from the Town Board Fund.
Councillor Alan Marshall said the improvements at Coniscliffe Road would act as a “catalyst for economic growth and town centre recovery.”
“Should funding be approved the highways department will then move to a fully engineered and costed scheme,” he said.
“The council has been working with local businesses to support them in their recovery from the Covid pandemic, and like other authorities, have actively promoted the development of outdoor hospitality settings in the town centre by relaxing existing licensing laws and introducing temporary road closures to allow hospitality businesses to operate safely and effectively utilising outside areas,” Mr Marshall added.
The borough council was given £10m from the Tees Valley Indigenous Growth Fund in 2019, then another £2m this year, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
“It is proposed to utilise this funding to invest in the upgrading of Coniscliffe Road to create a focal point for outdoor dining and hospitality together with a social space for local people and visitors to the town,” a council report added.
It adds the temporary measures proved popular with businesses and customers on Skinnergate and Coniscliffe Road, and designs were drawn up for a permanent solution for these areas and The Yards.
The improvements will include pedestrianisation to the east end of Coniscliffe Road, two-way access to Hogarth Court, a permanently redirected bus route, two-way cycling access, pavement café areas, widened footpaths and tree planting.