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QE Geography Students Have Their Say on Darlington Town Centre

Date Posted: 27/07/2022 | Posted In: Latest news

Four A Level Geography students from QE have given Darlington Borough Council food for thought after they provided a student’s perspective on how the town centre should be improved. The fantastic opportunity came about when the group took part in the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) EXPLORE work experience programme with local firm ELG Planning. The placement saw the students attend insightful webinars with RTPI where they were introduced to the concept of urban planning and several planners who described their job roles. Ria Nolan, who studies A Level Geography, English Literature and French at QE, comments: ‘We were able to participate in Q&A sessions with ELG planners and learn about what their jobs entail. We met with those who work in retail, housing and heritage; it was really interesting’.

Jack Benson, who is enrolled on A Level Geography, Maths and Physics at the College, adds: ‘We also had a meeting with the President of RTPI. Over the next two days, we started our project and walked around Darlington town centre analysing where planning had either been successful or failed’. The students were tasked with proposing a new use for three brownfield sites on the northern edge of the town centre and they came up with several innovative ideas. These included making better use of the outdoor space surrounding the DL1 complex and using themes to enhance the Yards between Skinnergate and High Row. Lily Rankine, who studies A Level Geography, Economics and Psychology, particularly enjoyed working with the planners to make a difference to the areas which are so often frequented by QE students.

Reflecting on the overall placement, Abigail Chisanga, a student of A Level Geography, Psychology and Science, explains: ‘I really enjoyed being able to have full control of the ideas that we wanted to propose and it was great that everybody listened to them’. Jeremy Good, Director of ELG Planning, praised the students for the positive attitude they displayed throughout the programme. He says: ‘I hope that Ria, Jack, Abigail and Lily will be able to walk around the town centre in future and see the changes that they have helped to influence’. Ian Perrier, Course Leader for A Level Geography at QE, concludes: ‘It was a fantastic placement. Several of the students are now seriously considering planning as a career option and they are also more aware of the way in which their decisions could have a positive impact on the town’.