Street in Durham city centre

Durham County Council set to discuss plans for future headquarters

Durham County Council Cabinet is set to meet to discuss the proposals for its new headquarters and civic offices accommodation.

The Cabinet will discuss the requirements of a new Council headquarters at a meeting next week.

In June 2021 the Cabinet agreed to look into the future use of the building built on The Sands and whether an alternative accommodation strategy could be established.

With the conclusion of the review the Cabinet has agreed to the sale of the building to Durham University.

The proposed sale to the university would be subject to planning approval with a decision on this expected in July.

Councillor Richard Bell, Cabinet Member for Finance commented on the importance of ensuring the proposals are good value for money.

Cllr Bell said: “The driving factors behind this work are ensuring that we provide good value for money for the authority.

And that any decisions we make are in the best interests of the county's residents.

“We believe that the proposal to sell the building at The Sands to Durham University would achieve four aims.

“Coupled with the redevelopment of the DLI Museum and Art Gallery, it would kick-start the wider development of the Aykley Heads strategic employment site.

“It would secure the university's new business school in the heart of the city, bringing significant economic and commercial benefits.

“The university is a globally-ranked Russell Group university and is of considerable importance to the county's economy and we are pleased to be working in partnership with it

“Our proposals will bring the former Customer Access Point at Stanley back into use, again bringing economic and commercial benefits.”

The new proposals for a new civic space on Plot D at Aykley Heads would also provide huge economic benefits.

Councillor James Rowlandson, Cabinet Member for Resources, Investment and Assets spoke on the new proposals.

Cllr Rowlandson said: “We have considered the options for our future office and civic accommodation requirements and have set out a business case for a new approach.

“Building a large development at Aykley Heads would significantly reduce the space available for development by other investors.

“However, the proposal for a smaller civic space with office accommodation elsewhere on the site would ensure that opportunities for the future redevelopment of Aykley Heads as a strategic employment site can be maximised.

“We can do this by committing public sector jobs to the site and enhancing facilities available to the private sector through the provision of conference facilities.”

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