Planning application submitted for redevelopment of “failing” Prince Bishops Place shopping centre

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An application has been submitted to Durham County Council for the redevelopment of Prince Bishops Place shopping centre in Durham City following the initial reveal of plans in summer 2023.

At present, Prince Bishops Place shopping centre is host to a mixture of national and independent retailers, including Patisserie Valerie, Boots, and Durham Distillery. However, new plans hope to add a hotel, purpose-built student accommodation, further leisure facilities, and a new public square designed to make the most of city views over the River Wear.

These plans come as Robert Dibden, a planning director at development consultancy, Lichfields, who are supporting the project’s progress, described the current shopping centre as “failing”, saying:

“By re-purposing an existing, failing shopping centre, this scheme offers a great opportunity to both strengthen the vitality and viability of the City Centre, creating a vibrant destination that people will want to spend time in, and put Prince Bishops Place onto a viable financial footing, safeguarding its future.”

He added: “It will also significantly improve the overall design quality and appearance of the centre by introducing a finer grain of development which more closely reflects the historic character of Durham City.”

We have balanced many competing needs which result in a scheme which will be a real positive to the city”

JAMES TAYLOR

It is estimated that the redevelopment will more than double employment opportunities at Prince Bishops Place, adding 175 new jobs to the current workforce of approximately 170, as well as generating around £6.8m for the local economy.

The plans have been developed by Citrus Group, who have co-owned Prince Bishops Place alongside other venture partners since 2022, in cooperation with London-based property developers, Galliard Homes, in their first project in the North East.

Announcing the plans, regional director of Citrus Group, James Taylor commented that: “After 15 months of work, we are very pleased to have submitted this complex planning application. It has been a productive journey, engaging with many stakeholders in and around the City, to evolve this development project into what it is today.

“We believe we have balanced the many competing needs which result in a scheme which will be a real positive to the City.”

David Hirschfield, director of Galliard Homes, also stated that: “The North East has always been a region very much on our radar due to its forward-thinking Council and the superb workforce the region boasts.

“Regeneration and place making have been at the core of Galliard Homes since inception and we are excited to be part of the Prince Bishops Place transformation from a mostly vacant shopping centre to a best in class mixed-use scheme.”

Following a public consultation in summer 2023, some changes have been made to the original plans, meaning that the 101-room hotel is now proposed to be located in the upper storeys of the building currently occupied by Boots, with student accommodation situated over Prince Bishops multi-storey car park, overlooking the Wear.

The application will be reviewed by the Council in coming months, with developments expected to begin in late 2025 with a completion date projected for 2027/2028.

Image: Roger Smith via Wikimedia Commons

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