Durham City Shopping Centre Redevelopment Moving Forward

People are being offered another chance to comment on plans to reshape the future of a retail centre in the heart of Durham City.

A second drop-in event is being held on August 9 at Unit 4 at Prince Bishops Place, where people can meet the Citrus team behind plans for the multi-million-pound transformation of the Prince Bishops Place shopping centre.

The real estate investment company wants to redevelop the shopping centre to entice more local, independent retailers to the site. A mix of new, more flexible retail units designed to accommodate the needs of independent operators and smaller national multiples are included as part of plans to regenerate a city centre gateway site.

A 130-bedroom hotel, new leisure attractions and “exciting and attractive” public spaces would also be created to increase the dwell-time of visitors. The largely empty upper floors of the centre would be utilised to introduce a new residential population, in the form of student accommodation.

Retaining Prince Bishops as a shopping centre but supporting its viability with a hotel and student accommodation which wraps around it represents an efficient use of land. Both the hotel and student housing will support the vitality of the retail uses both in the shopping centre and the wider city centre.

The introduction of student housing will also help to alleviate pressure on residential areas elsewhere in the city, which are increasingly accommodating higher student populations. The move follows a public consultation launched by planning specialist Lichfields and an initial drop-in event in July attended by approximately 150 people.

Plans will see the site transformed into a “vibrant and exciting” mixed-use venue for shopping, leisure activities and overnight stays, said James Taylor, regional director for developer Citrus Group.

He commented: “We would like to thank those who attended the first drop-in event, which was well attended, and have already shared their views via the consultation. There is now a further opportunity for people to comment on proposals and we would encourage anyone with an interest to attend the event.”

Robert Dibden, planning director at Lichfields Newcastle office, added: “This is an exciting regeneration project that will deliver new opportunities, jobs and economic prosperity. It would herald the transformation of retail in the city centre, so we are keen to hear the views of as many local people and stakeholders as possible before final plans are submitted.”

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