A popular music venue has found a new home after it received the news that it would be forced to vacate its home of more than a decade.

Rocking Horse Rehearsal Room and Studio has been located on Frankland Lane, in Durham city, centre since its inception in 2011. Over the years, the recording studio has played host to more than 300 artists, with a further 40 musicians using the rehearsal rooms each week.

First threatened with closure in early 2022, owner Rich Combstock went on a year-long campaign to keep the building that houses Rocking Horse from demolition.

Though the campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, the outlook for Rocking Horse – and the fabric of Durham’s music scene – is looking brighter, as the independent music venture has found a new home and will be moving down the road to a bigger venue in Coxhoe.

The Northern Echo: The suggested floor plans for the new Rocking Horse location. The suggested floor plans for the new Rocking Horse location. (Image: Rocking Horse)

Read more: Rocking Horse studio to be demolished as Durham owner 'devastated'

Landlords’ plans to redevelop Blagdon Depot were approved by the council in December of last year, which will see Rocking Horse’s existing structure, a former rocking horse factory, demolished and replaced.

A petition organised by Rich in support of the business garnered 3,500 signatures, a testament to the many people that believe there is nothing like Rocking Horse elsewhere in the county.

The initial worry was that demolition would spell the end for Rocking Horse, but after a year of searching, Rich has found a new venue.  

Rich said: “We have finally found a new building in Coxhoe. It's a significant upgrade on the current site as there's more space and it will be better suited to our needs.

“The new site will have more rooms and they will also be larger.  The building will have improved facilities such as additional toilets, communal areas and more outdoor space.

The Northern Echo: Work is underway at the Coxhoe location, with some rooms expected to be open for booking by August. Work is underway at the Coxhoe location, with some rooms expected to be open for booking by August. (Image: Rocking Horse)

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“The largest of the new rooms will be big enough to host gigs with a significantly increased capacity, which we hope will act as a cultural hub for the local community.”

Despite sinking an estimated £50,000 and countless hours of labour into Rocking Horse, Rich is now having to renovate the new location from scratch and has set up a crowd funder to assist with the financial burden of losing his investment.

At current, the fundraiser has raised £1,120 of a £5,000 target in a mere four days. If you want to support Rich and Rocking Horse, you can donate here.

Work has already begun on the new venue, with the aim of having the new building “up and running” before the Frankland Lane studio is demolished in November, with a few rooms open by August.

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Campaigners, including Durham’s MP Mary Foy, branded the establishment “an irreplaceable cultural asset”.

One supporter said: “The building is well used by musicians and a vital and integral place to help young and old musicians be creative and explore their skill and help others learn a new skill.”

Another said: “Rocking Horse is integral to Durham's art scene, which punches above its weight both nationally and globally and is a real source of value to the area.”