DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL: Student apartments on the bingo hall site


A BINGO room in Durham could soon cope with bulldozers to make way for new student accommodation.

Earlier in May, a planning request was filed with Durham County Council for Apollo Bingo in the Belmont neighborhood.

According to planning documents, the Sherburn Road site closed last year during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Although it opened from July for 18 weeks, the place closed again later that same year following new lockdown restrictions.

A design and access statement submitted with the application says the building was sold after the current owners concluded that reopening the bingo hall was “not a viable business opportunity.”

This was partly linked to “competition from larger scale operators”.

New plans aim to demolish the bingo hall and create in its place a specially designed student housing complex with associated parking and service facilities.

Approximately 138 en-suite rooms would be spread over four floors if the plans are approved, including seven accessible rooms.

In addition, the building would provide a cinema, gym and bicycle storage for students as well as parking for 15 cars (including space for disabled people) in a courtyard.

Details of the development were listed in a “Housing Needs Statement” submitted to council planners.

The document says the proposed development will help address an “obvious lack of bespoke student accommodation in the city of Durham”.

Meanwhile, the design and access statement reads: “On the ground floor, the auxiliary accommodation of the properties; comprising gym and common room is located with a secure reception at the main entrance.

“Some student accommodation is also located on the ground floor, but the majority of them are on the first, second and third floors of the building.

“Typically, student accommodation is organized in clusters of five to seven en-suite bedrooms located with a common common room consisting of a kitchen, dining and living space.”

The building slated for demolition has entertained the people of Durham for decades and opened in 1938 as the Majestic Cinema.

Other uses over the years have included a boxing hall, skateboard arena, and the most recent use as a bingo hall.

A final decision on the student accommodation plan for the site is expected in early August.

For more information or to track the progress of the planning request, visit the Durham County Council Planning Portal and search for reference: DM / 21/01611 / FPA

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