Created 12th May 2022

Planning permission has been granted to redevelop the struggling Apollo Bingo on Front Street in Durham. BH Planning and Design, acting on behalf of Durham Grove Limited, has successfully secured planning permission to create much needed student accommodation on the site following the news of the imminent closure of the Bingo Hall.

The firm has proposed to demolish the existing buildings at the site and create a purpose-built student accommodation scheme comprising 128 bed spaces over four storeys. The development will offer predominantly five-bedroom cluster apartments, along with 1no. eight-bedroom cluster apartment, 4no. studio apartments, gym, common room, and parking spaces.

According to recent statistics from prestigious Russell Group University, Durham, student numbers have increased for the 2021/2022 academic year, advising that there is currently 22,220 active students due to higher than normal intake. This uplift is as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and deferred A-Levels, but also following a trend of increasing student numbers year-on-year.

Forecasts by StuRents expect there to be a 49% increase in bed demand by 2024, but only a 25% increase in supply by the same point. This would equate to a demand of 21,720 beds against supply of 18,288 based on projections, further displaying the need for the transformation of a site such as this.

Daniel Puttick, Senior Planner at BH Planning and Design said: “The development will make a meaningful contribution to tackling a large projected shortfall in student placement bed spaces.

“The plan has been greatly reduced as a significant compromise, it will nevertheless be a catalyst for regeneration of the Sherburn Road area and the bingo hall is not well-used.

“The business is simply no longer viable as a going concern and inevitably will close. Plans for the Durham Grove Ltd student accommodation will be a better use of the space, as well as solving a problem that Durham City is currently experiencing.”

Mark Ketley, director of BH Planning and Design said: “The removal of Apollo Bingo on this site and the creation of new purpose-built student accommodation will definitely make a considerable contribution towards relieving the current strain on student accommodation in Durham. This site is in the right place and will make a positive impact to the area both in terms of diversifying the current student accommodation offer and by regenerating a run-down site that will inevitably become vacant and derelict otherwise.” Redevelopment of the site is expected to commence later this year.

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