I MUST agree with Paul Christison’s view of Durham City (HAS, Sept 25).

Yes the city needs student accommodation, yes it needs shops both large and small, but does it need three cinemas and even more central student accommodation at the price of residents’ accommodation, buildings that scar the sky line?

However his view that shopping in Durham is “poor” is not totally accurate. Visitors look for the small shops, and the covered market is great at meeting some of that need.

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But we need more – the vennels, the alleys and yards are the ideal place. The People’s Bookshop, Beauty Spot and Shelley jewellers are also great specialist places.

Yes another larger store would be good, but finding a post card, a modest token tourist item etc is difficult for the day tripper.

My experience is that people want to wander around and discover hidden gems. Many come expecting to find a smaller version of York.

We have the basics, but if small places in the city centre are given over to accommodation, we will not develop – or rather we will over develop, if that isn’t too much of a contradiction.

Norman Hill, Durham