NOT every old building can be preserved. Indeed, not every old building should be preserved. Some should be swept away so that we can get on with living our modern lives.

But the finest old buildings should be given a chance, and that is what is happening in Durham City at the moment. Yesterday, we reported how Old Shire Hall, a lavish late Victorian municipal building, was being given a new chance as a boutique hotel.

Today, we note that the Secretary of State for Culture is to bow to public pressure and at least hear the arguments about whether Dunelm House is worthy of protection.

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Dunelm House doesn’t have the grandeur of Old Shire Hall or the magnificence of the cathedral. Made of concrete in the 1960s, its style of architecture is not easy on the eye, and the university says it needs £15m to repair it.

But it does have something. Tumbling down its hillside, and with the exciting, high level Kingsgate Bridge beside it, it makes its landscape in the same way that Durham castle grows out of its.

Durham can’t just be full of Gothic buildings. Its character is all about how it has changed through the ages, and how the modern interacts with the ancient. Dunelm House, which many consider to be one of the best buildings of its era in the region, is a part of that story.

And if buildings are only preserved because they are cheap, the sink that is the cathedral would have been torn down ages ago.

There is a feeling that the city was going to lose Dunelm House because it was the most convenient option for the university, which has great influence.

Therefore, it is welcome that the Secretary of State is going to hear all the arguments about Dunelm House, from its supporters and its detractors, from the experts and the people, and will then weigh up all the evidence to see if it is worthy of a chance.