Fresh designs ready for £150 million hotel, office, homes and bars site by side of River Wear

An image of how the Premier Inn could look as part of the Milburngate scheme if planners give it the go ahead.
An image of how the Premier Inn could look as part of the Milburngate scheme if planners give it the go ahead.

An updated version of a £150 million plan which could see a new hotel, apartments, bars, cinema and offices built on the banks of the River Wear has been submitted.

The developers of Milburngate, in Durham, have lodged an new detailed planning application to Durham County Council for the landmark living, working and leisure development.

The passport office has since been cleared from the site.

The passport office has since been cleared from the site.

It follows consultation efforts which put forward a series of suggestions about how it plans could be improved, which led to a revised application being sent in to planners.

Earlier this year councillors deferred a decision on the Premier Inn hotel scheme, after they suggested a better design could be drawn up for the former passport office plot.

Developers say that as a result of changes made, the first phase of Milburngate will contain a greater mix of uses featuring 153 apartments, a 92-bed, the hotel, and 5,000 square metres of offices, which will support up to 500 new jobs.

The team says bringing forward more than half of the development’s residential properties in the first phase will help enhance the supply of homes in Durham, and the inclusion of the offices, which was not originally part of the first phase, will also support the immediate need for high quality, business accommodation in the city.

The team behind the Milburngate development say the buildings will be in keeping with the city.

The team behind the Milburngate development say the buildings will be in keeping with the city.

The homes, offices and hotel will be joined by businesses including Everyman, which made its first commitment to the North East with an agreement to open a boutique cinema at Milburngate, together with bar and restaurants, Pitcher & Piano, Bar + Block and Miller and Carter.

As part of this, the developers are bringing forward the completion of Milburngate’s riverside public realm which will mean 85% of the public space will be completed in phase one, helping "provide crucial connectivity, not only through the development, but between the railway station, riverside and the city centre."

Included in the updated application are a number of changes, such as revised access to the service area and short stay car park and the addition of pitched roofing to the hotel.

Hotel firm Whitbread says it has been looking an new sites across the UK as the business expands, and says the Durham scheme is of "high architectural quality" which is in keeping with the rest of the development sympathetic to the area and similar to others it has in historic cities.

The hotel will be accompanied by bars, restaurants, office space and apartments, as well as an Everyman cinema, if approved.

The hotel will be accompanied by bars, restaurants, office space and apartments, as well as an Everyman cinema, if approved.

If approved, the Durham hotel - which will neighbour one on the opposite side of the river as part of the Walkergate complex - will feature its heritage signage, which is already on hotels in Edinburgh and York.

Subject to planning consent in December, construction of Milburngate will begin in the first quarter of 2019, with homes the section of the scheme will be complete by 2021.

The developers are currently in the final stages of selecting a construction partner who will be announced early next year.

Milburngate is being delivered by a joint venture of Arlington Real Estate and the Richardson family who have successfully delivered a number of strategically important regeneration projects across the region, including Freemans Reach in Durham city centre.

Allan Cook, managing director of Arlington Real Estate, said: ““This enhanced first phase of development at Milburngate will accelerate delivery of the scheme and deliver a greater blend of complementary uses earlier than originally expected.

"This is further testament to the very strong interest we have had from national and regional occupiers alike which is great for Durham City as well as the wider region.”

“The growing trend for mixed-use city destinations has influenced our updated designs, particularly to help businesses attract young professionals who want to live, work and enjoy themselves in city centres.”

Ben Holmes, director at Richardsons, said: “The updated designs for the first part of Milburngate, which include important feedback from local stakeholders, reflect the synergies we aimed to achieve across the whole development.

“Delivering elements of the development earlier than originally planned, to complete 70% of the entire project, will support Milburngate’s position as a catalyst for job creation and a magnet for leisure visitors looking for a premium and unique experience unavailable at other locations in the North East.”