Councillors back plan for multi-million pound Durham hotel


Councillors in Durham have backed plans to transform former council headquarters in a multi-million pound new hotel.

Durham Country Council have given the green light for Grade-II Old Shire Hall, its base from the late 19th century to the 1960s, to be converted into an 18-bedrooms hotel, complete with fitness suite, spa, 150-cover restaurant, bar and coffee shop.

The Grade-II listed building was built in 1896 and has stood empty since Durham University moved out in 2012.

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Businessman Shawn Crawley bought the building last year and has said he is now in talks with a major international hotel operator, who he was unable to name, but hoped an announcement could be made soon.

Old Shire Hall already had planning permission to become a 43-bed hotel with 29 apart-rooms and the new proposals were submitted following talks with the potential operator.

Planning Officer Alan Dobie said that Old Shire Hall was well suited to use as a hotel and Durham needed more hotel beds.

“This would bring an important building back into use and hopefully lead to further regeneration,” he said.