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Plans for the multi-million-pound transformation of Prince Bishops Place are outlined in a public consultation, launched this week.

Need for Change

The move sees a proposal by real estate investment and development company Citrus Group, (who own Prince Bishops Place) to transform the site into a vibrant and exciting venue for shopping, leisure activities and overnight stays. Opened in 1998, the shopping centre is now a victim of structural changes in the retail sector over the past decade; exacerbated by Covid. With high vacancy rates, and little demand from national multiple retailers, it is essential that the centre reinvents itself and offers other reasons to visit.

What Are We Proposing?

Citrus Group’s exciting plans for Prince Bishops Place therefore seek to broaden its offer; underpinned by a core objective of enticing more local, independent retailers to the scheme. A mix of new smaller retail units designed specifically to accommodate the needs of independent operators & national retailers, will also be included as part of the ambitious plans to regenerate an important city centre gateway site. A 130 bedroom hotel, new leisure attractions and exciting and attractive public spaces would also be created to increase the dwell-time of visitors.

Located between Elvet Bridge and Market Square, and overlooking the River Wear with extensive views of the historic castle and cathedral, the proposed £60 Million development would see the 400-space lower-level multi-storey car park retained.

While some of the site will be demolished, most of the shopping centre’s existing infrastructure, below the mall will be retained and reconfigured. This will provide upwards of 6,500 sq. m. of retail space to meet the needs of a mix of independents & national retailers.

New Opportunities

New walkways, pedestrian seating offering views across the River Wear, and a landscaped public square, will all be provided to attract more visitors and increase the amount of time they spend in the city centre. The square, which will be able to cater for a range of public events, 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 family-focused leisure facilities.

The project has the potential to be transformative both for Prince Bishops Place itself and also Durham more widely by increasing dwell-time and retained visitor spend in the city, according to planning specialists Lichfields, which is seeking the views of local people on the plans.

Have Your Say

A digital consultation is now available online at until 16 August 2023.

The public can also meet the Citrus team to discuss the proposals at two dedicated drop-in events held at Unit 4, Prince Bishops Place between 12.00 and 17.00 on 19 July and 09 August.

If the project gets the green light from the city council during early 2024, around 195 full-time equivalent jobs in the retail, hospitality and wider regional supply chain sectors could be created when the site eventually opens, contributing between £5.4m and £8.6m Gross Value Added in economic output to the city.

James Taylor Regional Director for developer Citrus Group added: “We hope people across the city and wider region will recognise the opportunity our plans provide to reposition and reshape the future of Prince Bishops Place. We are very excited to be involved in such a transformational project and working with local communities and stakeholders over the coming weeks to hear their views as part of our pre-planning engagement. We encourage anyone with an interest to visit the website or attend a drop-in event to discover more.

A formal planning application is expected to be submitted to Durham City Council in late 2023. Robert Dibden, associate director at Lichfields Newcastle office, said: “This is an exciting regeneration project that will deliver new opportunities, jobs and economic prosperity. It would herald the transformation of an important part of Durham City Centre; so we are extremely keen to hear the views of as many local people and stakeholders as possible before final plans are submitted.

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