Durham County Council has revealed plans to demolish its headquarters and relocate to a new site. 

Councillors are due to vote on a report at a cabinet meeting next Wednesday, which sets out the local authority’s ambition to move and demolish the County Hall premises. 

The Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed in July that council officers had amended its plans for the new HQ at Aykley Heads by acquiring the vacantRivergreen building. 

A small extension will be built and contractors will carry out internal refurbishment work to make sure it is ready to use as a headquarters and Civic Centre site from spring/ summer 2025.

A separate office block at the north of the site is nearing completion and will be occupiable from early 2024. It means the local authority will no longer proceed with earlier proposals to build a new Civic Centre office space at Aykley Heads. 

The council report reveals it could use some land currently owned by Durham Constabulary, which has its headquarters based at Aykley Heads, subject to an agreement. 

Council officers will shortly begin the procurement process to develop the site following the demolition of the existing County Hall buildings. 

“Aykley Heads is uniquely positioned to capitalise on these characteristics and serve as a driving force for County Durham’s future economic growth,” the report stated. “Aykley Heads has the scope and scale to create an Innovation District of regional, national, and international significance.”

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Elsewhere, there are also plans to refurbish and reuse the former customer access point on Front Street, Stanley, a large, run-down Grade II listed building. 

It is not the first time plans have changed. The previous Labour administration had planned to relocate the council to The Sands building on the banks of the River Wear, but that was withdrawn by the current councillors in power and sold to Durham University. 

The changes form part of an ambition to create a ‘Durham Innovation District’ that will be a “catalyst for driving social and economic benefit across the County”, the report added.