Durham in line for new four-star boutique

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Plans for a new four-star boutique hotel in Durham have been given the green light by the city’s local council.

Old Shire Hall, a Grade-II listed building, is now to be transformed into a 43-bedroom hotel and a 29-room aparthotel as part of a £7.5m project.

The building, which was built in 1896, is the former home of Durham University’s admin offices, who occupied the space until 2012.

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The plans were specifically for a new boutique hotel, restaurant and bar as well as leisure club and spa, and were submitted by developer Kevin Brown to Durham Council.

The plans state that the impact on the historic fabric of the building would be minimal, while an effort would be made to "retain the significant features and reuse existing service routes" of the property.

The approval means about 60 jobs will be created as part of the operation of the business.

The application states: "In turn, the new hotel, bar, restaurant, spa and aparthotel are predicted to bring an additional £3m spend into the city with further benefits to the surrounding businesses.

"It currently contributes little to the city from an economic perspective and requires significant investment to bring it back into a long lasting viable economic use.

"The application proposals seek to retain and preserve the historical significance of the building whilst bringing it back into a beneficial economic and public use."

It also predicts approximately 21,000 additional visitors will come to the city as a result, which will "bring further income into local businesses".

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