THE City of Durham Trust has objected to proposals to turn the city’s former Post Office into student accommodation.

Developers Starstruck Limited have submitted an application to turn Albert House, in Silver Street, into 18 self-contained student apartments, with reduced commercial floorspace limited to the ground floor.

The application says the owners have been unable to market the building to commercial retailers due to its size and layout but the trust has now questioned their findings.

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Trust secretary Douglas Pocock said: “Albert House is a listed building with an attractive facade, in a main shopping street in the centre of Durham’s Primary Retail Area as defined by the Town Map. After successfully trading for more than 150 years, it is now claimed that the building is ‘too large and the layout too inconvenient to be occupied by a single retailer’.

“Where is the evidence that a rigorous marketing campaign was undertaken, and without success? Can the centre afford yet another building to be largely taken over for student accommodation? In terms of so-called inconvenience, such a factor has not inhibited several premises in Saddler Street from functioning successfully.”

The Grade II listed building has been closed since November, when the Post Office moved out following an unsuccessful campaign to keep services in its own dedicated building.

The developers want to turn Albert House into seven one-bedroom apartments and put a further 11 in a building in Fowler’s Yard, which is connected to the former Post Office by a footbridge.