PLANS to turn a house in one of Durham’s most exclusive streets into a guest house are due to be discussed by councillors next week.
An application has been made to turn a property in South Street into a guest house with eight bedrooms.
The scheme is Durham businessman Nigel Gadd’s latest project.
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The building was previously run as a boutique hotel between 2007 and 2009.
Known as Grafton House, the 10-bedroom hotel was put into receivership by owner Mary Parker after 15 months in business.
Mr Gadd, who lives at the address, tried to get permission to reopen the guesthouse in 2015 but withdrew the plans amid objections from nearby residents.
This time around, 11 people have objected to the proposals, including Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods and the City of Durham Trust, with concerns raised over traffic and parking and that it might be used as student accommodation.
A statement made by Mr Gadd’s agent says: “I’d like to allay concerns that this application is intended to obtain a sub-divided multiple occupancy student plot. That is not our client’s intention.
“This venture is purely to provide Durham with a high end guest house at which the applicants will also reside full time.”
Mr Gadd, and wife Deborah, have had a number of other ventures in Durham, including Gadd’s Town House, in Old Elvet and Thai restaurant Zen.
Dr Blackman-Woods said the application should be refused because of previous problems with parking when the house was used as a hotel
She said: “Given the issues that arose previously, it is highly likely this change of use will have a similar negative impact on the amenity of existing residents, and will cause further traffic issues in South Street.”
Douglas Pocock, secretary of the City of Durham Trust said: “There is simply no room in this distinctive character area for a commercial enterprise.”.
Referring to traffic issues, he added: “For visitors, confusion, congestion and, at times, chaos was inevitable, given the one-way narrow street.”
South Street, described by planners as “possibly the finest street in the city centre”, overlooks Durham Cathedral, contains a number of listed buildings and is a key part of Durham’s conservation area.
The application also includes a request for retrospective permission for an orangery to the rear of the property, which was built two years ago.
- Planners have recommended the application is approved by councillors at a meeting at County Hall on Tuesday at 1pm.