Leading hotel operator in talks to transform Old Shire Hall


A leading international operator is reportedly in talks to transform the Grade-II listed Old Shire Hall in Durham into a major new hotel, the building’s owner has revealed.

While owner Shaun Crawley, who bought the property early last year, didn’t revealed the name of the interested brand, he told the Northern Echo that things were “going well”.

The multi-million pound project set for the historic former university is now in the planning permission stage, after Crawley submitted an application to suit the would-be operator’s needs.

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The proposal includes the creation of an 81-bedroom luxury hotel, fitness suite and spa, plus a 150-cover restaurant and 100-cover coffee shop.

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Mr Crawley said: “We also have a big name operator lined up for the restaurant that will make the hotel one of the best dining destinations in Durham.”

The spa, with a gym, sauna, steam room, two “experience showers” and changing rooms, would be on the lower ground floor, along with some bedrooms and the coffee shop.

The ground floor would comprise the reception, a lounge bar and restaurant in the grand council chamber.

There would be a dining area above the chamber and more bedrooms on the first floor, plus further suites on the second floor.

Much of the 1896-built Art Deco grandeur would be retained, including the tiled walls, grand staircase, marble, mosaic floors and wood panelling.

Consultation on the new proposal has begun and will run until Thursday, September 10, before a council committee will discuss the scheme this autumn.