Durham Sixth Form Centre caretaker's lodge to become new art studio

Plans for a new arts and gallery space at Durham Sixth Form Centre have been given the green light.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 2:46 pm

In April, proposals were lodged to transform the former caretaker’s lodge on site into an art workspace and gallery.

The application included a redevelopment of the site, which is currently used for storage, and a two-storey extension to the rear of the building.

According to a Design and Access Statement submitted with the application, the plans would provide space for students to develop artwork and hold exhibitions.

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Impression of how the new arts space at Durham Sixth Form Centre could look Credit: Durham County Council’s Building Design Services

In addition, a 100m2 single storey extension is planned to the sixth form centre’s Visual Arts Building to provide extra studio workspace.

During public consultation, the plans attracted two comments which are outlined in council papers.

In a letter to the council’s planning department, City of Durham Parish Council welcomed the application.

The letter reads: “Durham is short of gallery space, especially since the DLI art gallery closed, and also especially in the city centre, so this proposal to convert the caretaker’s house at the Sixth Form Centre into a gallery and possibly workshop space is to be welcomed.”

However, the City of Durham Trust objected noting the “poor design relationship of the extension to the [caretaker’s] lodge, its surrounds and the negative and cumulative impact on the conservation area.”

After considering evidence, Durham County Council’s planning authority approved the plans on August 3, with a decision report addressing concerns about the building’s potential impact on heritage assets.

The report states: “It is considered that the proposed development is well designed in its architectural response to the historic character of the existing building, integration with the college complex, and follows the trend for such new building designs within the vicinity and that the proposal would be enhanced at a localised level the character and appearance of this part of the conservation area; and due to the intervening geography, street pattern, tree coverage, and existing dense built development which would restrict intervisibility between the proposed development and the conservation area at middle and wider distance, that the impact would be neutral.”

It goes on to say:“There would be no adverse effects in terms of the setting and public views towards Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site.

“It is therefore considered that a further extension to the rear of the application property within this location would not result in a detrimental impact on the setting, appearance or significance of the conservation area.”

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