DEVELOPERS of Milburngate, the flagship city centre development in Durham, have closed the site while emergency services deal with a major fire in the boundary wall.

Tolent said everyone had been safely evacuated from the riverside construction site after the blaze broke out earlier today.

Work on the £150 million scheme began in 2019 and includes 153 apartments, a 92-bed Premier Inn hotel, and 5,000 square metres of offices.

It is one of three major developments in Durham, alongside the Riverwalk leisure area and the creation of a new council building at The Sands.

Early work at the site included the demolition of the former passport office.

The development is a joint venture between Arlington Real Estate and the Richardson family.

When Milburngate started two years ago Arlington managing director Allan Cook said it was a development of ‘regional significance’ to address the need for high quality residential, offices and retail and leisure space in the city.

At the time he said: “It will also set a new benchmark for quality and make a meaningful contribution to securing the city’s social and economic future for generations to come.”


Construction of a large retaining wall has paved the way for the Milburngate development

Construction of a large retaining wall has paved the way for the Milburngate development

Durhams Milburngate development

Durham's Milburngate development


In March this year a milestone in the development was reached with the completion of a 4,000-tonne frame made up of 40,000 individual pieces of steel.

Weighing a combined total of 3,800 tonnes, it is one of the key structures that will make up Phase One of the development.

Milburngate was due for completion early next year, but the extent of damage from the fire is currently unclear.

A spokesman for Tolent, which is leading the construction on the site, said: “A fire has broke out on site at Milburngate today and fire crews are in attendance.

“Everyone on site has been safely evacuated and the site is now closed."

Durham County Council is currently monitoring the situation.

Gordon Elliott, head of partnerships and community engagement, said: “Our civil contingency officers are liaising with the emergency services and we are monitoring the situation.

"We are aware that Durham Constabulary has closed the roads around the site and would encourage people to follow the emergency services’ advice which is that motorists should avoid the area and find alternative routes, and that local residents should stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.”

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