The scheme looks to make the most of the waterfront. Credit: PB Imaging

Citrus seeks Durham success

In a joint venture with Galliard Homes, the developer wants to redevelop Prince Bishops Place shopping centre in a project blending student living, a hotel and a revitalised retail & leisure offer.

On the back of a public consultation last summer, and following some further design development, the final submitted scheme consists of shops, leisure uses, a new public square, student housing and a hotel.

James Taylor, regional director at Citrus Group, said: “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 for the city. We look forward to continuing this journey through the planning process, and seeing it come to fruition”.

David Hirschfield, director at Galliard Homes, said: “We are delighted to partner with Citrus Group and make our first investment in Durham. 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”.

Robert Dibden, planning director at Lichfields, added: “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. 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”.

Opened in 1998, the shopping centre has become a victim of the fall in demand for high street retail space, suffering high vacancy rates and little demand from national multiple retailers.

Located between Elvet Bridge and Market Square and overlooking the River Wear with extensive views of the historic castle and cathedral, the proposed scheme will provide retail space to meet the future diverse needs of a mix of independents and national retailers, said its promoters.

The 400-space lower-level multi-storey car park will also be retained.

New walkways, landscaping and pedestrian seating offering views across the River Wear will all be provided to attract more visitors and increase the amount of time they spend in the city centre.

The square will cater for public events and will be the centrepiece of the scheme, accommodating the main entrances to the hotel and student accommodation as well as a selection of busy shops, restaurants and leisure facilities.

The partners hope for a planning verdict this summer.

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