Council set to demolish one of the world's oldest railway inns for HS2 wants to demolish second historic pub

A council which this month triggered a furore by approving a plan to demolish part of one of the world’s oldest railway inns has unveiled proposals to flatten another historic pub beside a railway.

Darlington Borough Council has lodged the first stages of its plans to redevelop grade II* listed Bank Top Station, with an overhaul of land to the west of 19th century building.

The scheme is part of large-scale plans to accommodate future demands for rail travel and accommodate future use by HS2, the Northern Powerhouse Rail and to create a modern rail hub for the Tees Valley.

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Alongside the demolition of several properties in Pensbury Street, Victoria Road, Waverley Terrace and Park Lane, public realm landscaping and bus stops works, the application seeks consent to flatten Hogan’s public house on Victoria Road.

Hogans in Darlington

The pub, previously known as Park Hotel was built as a Temperance Hotel around the time the station was built.

The landmark premises, which features a series of arches supported by doric columns, is considered a heritage asset because of its historic location and external appearance.

Planning documents examining the area’s heritage state there is no alternative to demolishing the pub if Pensbury and Park Roads are to be re-aligned, a key part of the scheme.

However, they state Hogan’s, has been “identified as having considerable significance in the context of Darlington”.

A council spokesman said it was the external shell of the building that contributed to the setting of the listed station building. He said internally the building was “much altered and of limited significance”.

He added: “The public benefits are that the demolition of Hogan’s will enable a safer and improved modern road arrangement which will in turn enable an improved transport interchange with connections by bus to Darlington and beyond.

"The demolition of Hogans will also enable a larger space in front of the station to improve the setting of the station through careful landscaping. This is considered to be enhancement.”

The plans follow the authority, which is pouring resources into revamping the borough’s rail heritage buildings, passing a proposal to create a Sainsbury’s convenience store on site of Stockton and Darlington Railway pub Platform One in Middleton St George, which was also known as the Fighting Cocks.

Niall Hammond, chairman of the Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, said while the loss of the Fighting Cocks had been of advantage to nobody, the loss of Hogan’s would yield benefits for the heritage of the station by improving its setting.

He said: “What they are proposing generally enhances Bank Top Station, giving it more room to breathe by creating the public space at the top of Victoria Road. Losing any historic building is a shame, but if there is a good reason for it and it’s done well then you can make a case for it.”

He said the only building that was built in the area in the style of Bank Top Station in the 1880s, the former Northeastern Hotel, had already been well preserved.