A DEVELOPER hoping to turn a former social club into student digs has warned opponents to be careful what they wish for, as other uses could be worse for the area.

Andrew Ward, of Angel Homes, has repeatedly sought planning permission to convert the former Neville’s Cross Social Club, on Neville’s Cross Bank, Durham City, into accommodation for Durham University students.

Most recently, a Durham County Council committee went against their planning officers’ recommendation to reject consent, back in mid-June – chairman Paul Taylor using his casting vote to break the deadlock.

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Mr Ward, who also runs the Angel Inn and other city pubs, has appealed that decision and applied for permission to use the ground floor, previously the club bar, as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

The upper floors were previously residential, so such a request is not necessary for them.

Previously, neighbours have said the scheme would turn the area into a student ghetto, with late-night noise, disturbance and anti-social behaviour.

But Mr Ward said: “I think that the small number of hard core objectors to this application should be careful what they wish for as alternative uses that require no planning consent would be worse for the area, both aesthetically and socially.”

Mr Ward said he had tried on several occasions to meet and engage with local residents but they seemed “unwilling”.

Nevertheless, some residents have already objected to the plans.

Elizabeth Cullen, of Cross View House, said the change would create more noise and anti-social behaviour, invade residents’ privacy and insufficient parking was planned.

She said the plans were misleading and up to 32 people could be accommodated.

On recent works, she said: “Our lives have been totally disrupted with little or no consideration given to the sometimes intolerable activities undertaken.”

Lorna Zuk, of St John’s Road, said the scheme would detract from the local quality of life and Peter Kemmett, of George Street, said it was highly inappropriate given the club’s proximity to family accommodation.

Public consultation is under way and continues until Thursday, August 28. Comments can be made online at durham.gov.uk/planning, using the reference DM/14/02108/FPA.

Neville’s Cross Social Club relocated to The New Cross, formerly the Langley Moor Hotel, in Langley Moor, earlier this year.

Over recent months, plans have emerged or been approved for 112 apartments on Green Lane, 223 beds on Ainsley Street, 350 beds on Renny’s Lane, 418 beds at Sheraton Park, 198 beds at Magdalene Heights, 1,000 beds at Mount Oswald and 109 beds in Gilesgate.