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Demolition plans for former bank and library in Crook town centre
A 170-year-old former bank and neighbouring empty library could be demolished within the next two months, potentially clearing the way for a supermarket.
Durham County Council wants to knock down the former TSB building and neighbouring library next to Crook marketplace.
The buildings sit next to a former council depot on Queen Street, and the authority has previously said they want to see a supermarket built on the one-hectare site.
The council has now applied to its own planning department for permission to demolish the two buildings on Elliot Street and remove trees that have self-seeded on the vacant land behind the former bank.
David Robinson, from the council’s neighbourhood services department, said the demolition would ideally be carried out in January or February subject to approval from planners.
He said: “The TSB and library sites will be levelled, covered with topsoil and seeded with grass until a new use for the area can be established.”
The TSB building was built in 1840 as a parochial school, but has fallen into a bad state of repair after standing empty for a number of years.
In a heritage report to the planners, neighbourhood services said: “Although the building looks impressive from a distance, on closer inspection it has no special features or detailing.
“Due to its condition it would be uneconomical to repair the building or to try and find a new use for it.”
The council said it has also suffered from vandalism and will continue to be a target for anti-social behaviour if it remains.
The authority contacted Beamish Museum to discuss a possible relocation, but the former bank was deemed to have “limited significance”, and there have been no other expressions of interest for using it in the last 15 years, the council said.
The 1970s-built library has stood empty since July 2012 when the service was moved into Crook Civic Centre.
The council said no future development has yet been confirmed, but estimated that a supermarket could create up to 120 new jobs.
The report said: “The site is considered to be deliverable for food retail, demolition of the buildings will improve the prospect of retail development coming forward.”
The council will be consulting on the demolition plan until Tuesday, January 7.
For more information, visit planning.wearvalley.gov.uk
The application reference number is 3/2013/0439.
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