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ACCOMMODATION: Student apartments at bingo hall site

ACCOMMODATION: Student apartments at bingo hall site

Image: LDRS

A bingo hall outside Durham City could soon face the bulldozers to make way for new student accommodation.

Earlier in May, a planning application was lodged with Durham County Council for Apollo Bingo in the Belmont ward.

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

Although it opened from July for 18 weeks, the venue closed again later the same year following further lockdown restrictions.

A design and access statement submitted with the application says the building was sold after 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 a purpose-built student accommodation complex in its place with associated parking and servicing facilities.

Around 138 en-suite bedrooms would be provided across four floors if the plans are approved, including seven accessible bedrooms.

In addition, the building would provide a cinema room, gym and bike storage room for students alongside parking for 15 cars (including a disabled space) within a courtyard.

Details of the development were listed in a ‘meeting housing needs statement’ submitted to council planners.

The document states that the proposed development will help meet a “clear shortage of bespoke student accommodation within Durham City.”

Meanwhile, the design and access statement reads: “To the ground floor the properties ancillary accommodation; including gym and common room is located with a secure reception to the main entrance.

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

“Generally student accommodation is arranged into clusters of between five to seven en-suite bedrooms located with a shared common room consisting of kitchen, dining space and living space.”

The building set for demolition has been providing entertainment to the people of Durham for decades and first opened in 1938 as the Majestic Cinema.

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

A final decision on the student acommodation plan for the site is expected by early August.

For more information or to follow the progress of the planning application, visit Durham County Council’s planning portal and search reference: DM/21/01611/FPA


Words: Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporter

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