A PLAN to turn a former crown post office into student accommodation will be decided upon next week.

Durham’s former post office in Silver Street has been empty since it closed in 2016.

Starstruck Limited has put in proposals to convert the Grade Two listed building into 17 one-bed student apartments with reduced ground floor space for retail.

The City of Durham Trust and Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum wrote to the council to voice concerns about the loss of retail and commercial space, along with two residents who also objected to using the building as student accommodation.

Planners from Durham County Council have recommended that the scheme is approved.

A report to be considered by councillors at a meeting at County Hall on Tuesday says: “Overall, the principle of conversion is considered to have a beneficial impact by virtue of securing the re-occupation of a vacant grade II listed building within a prominent city centre location and reducing the potential for it to fall into a state of disrepair.”

Named Albert House, the building dates back to the 19th century and is connected to a four-storey building in Fowler’s Yard, which was once a methodist chapel.

The application is to put seven apartments in Albert House and 11 in Fowler’s Yard.

The applicants say it is “unviable” for the building to be used just for commercial or retail purposes because of its size and layout.

Changes have been made to the initial proposals following suggestions by the heritage team, including restoring the shop front’s original form.