A DEVELOPMENT brief for replacing a landmark office block, said to be a blot on a city’s landscape, is set to be agreed by councillors next week.

The brief for Milburngate House, on Framwelgate Waterside, in Durham, is to go before Durham County Council’s cabinet on Wednesday, May 30.

It suggests demolishing the tower block, although parts of it could be retained depending on a developer’s preferences.

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The site could be used for housing, shops, leisure facilities or possibly offices or other uses, the blueprint says.

With owners NS&I planning to move to proposed new offices across the River Wear at Freeman’s Reach – the old Durham Wasps ice rink site – in 2014, Milburngate House could be put up for sale as early as this summer.

The brief, drawn up by Taylor Young, has cost £45,000 – split between NS&I and the council.

Planners say they have taken into account the impact of any extra city centre traffic which might be generated by any new development and also the need to preserve views of Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site.

The brief’s publication follows public consultation events in May and November last year.

Councillor Neil Foster, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: "Milburngate House occupies a prime central location which, with careful planning, could add real value to the city’s offer.

"While this brief does not preclude the potential for sensitive renovation and future business use, it’s clear that the site could benefit the area via a mix of residential, retail, leisure and restaurant development.

"Alongside the opportunities at Freeman’s Reach, we have a real chance to improve the city here and we must play our part."

The brief will be discussed when the council’s cabinet meets at County Hall, Durham, at 10am on Wednesday, May 30.