Plan to turn public toilets into 'vibrant' new cafe in Durham city centre

Former public toilets in could be transformed into a cafe under new proposals lodged with planning chiefs.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 5:22 pm

A planning application was submitted to Durham County Council earlier in May for the former toilet block off North Road, Durham city centre, adjacent to Wharton Park.

This included installing glazed windows to the front of the building, repointing existing brickwork and a glass balustrade to allow the roof to be used for seating.

A design, access and heritage statement, submitted to council planners on behalf of the applicant, also provides more details on the development.

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The toilet block, in North Road, Durham City
The toilet block, in North Road, Durham City

While the internal layout of the cafe is to be confirmed, floor plans show space for a kitchen, storage, an accessible toilet, an external cycle rack and two entrances at the front of the building.

This includes the entrance to the cafe itself and a separate entrance to the proposed terraced seating area on the roof.

The design, access and heritage statement adds: “The proposed development converts the vacant public toilets into a vibrant new place on the map of Durham that has a potential to attract more visitors to explore not only [the] historic city centre but [is] also located nearby Wharton Park.

“Furthermore, [the] new cafe has a potential to serve as a coffee stop for students that live in nearby accommodation.

“Taking full advantage of the location and the existing flat roof the proposed terrace will give an opportunity for the local community to enjoy the sun and admire the views of the historic buildings of Durham.”

For more information on the planning application or to track its progress, visit Durham County Council’s planning portal and search reference: DM/21/01776/FPA

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