A pub chain boss has delivered a stinging attack on a council claiming delays on a multimillion-pound Durham development are costing in the region "hundreds of jobs".

BrewDog chief executive Jamea Watt expresssed his frustrations over his unopened premises on Durham's Milburngate development in a LinkedIn post titled “The Tragic Tale of BrewDog Durham".

He gives a timeline of events relating to the unopened premises on the new Milburngate development -  from signing the lease in August 2021 to the "complete radio silence from the council as to when we can open”.

Mr Watts said: “Due to the epic ineptitude and complete paralysis of the council our economy is missing out on hundreds of jobs, the government are missing out on valuable tax revenue and the good people of Durham are missing out on brilliant entertainment options.

"We still have no idea when we can open our doors despite the site being ready for well over a year now.”

But Durham County Council has said it shares his disappointment and stresses it is not responsible for the delivery of the development, saying the Milburngate site is "owned by a private company not in the control of the council".

The development has been hailed as one of the region’s biggest schemes in a decade -  creating office pace for 400 jobs, as well as new homes, bars and restaurants, cinema and hotel on the city’s riverside.

But completion of the development was delayed at the start of the year when main contractor Tolent collapsed into administration.

A new Everyman Cinema and Premier Inn hotel are also facing similar delays on the development site.

In August last year, it was first announced that the craft beer chain would be moving into the development in Durham, with stunning views of the historic city from a glass-fronted design and balcony.

Once opened, the 3,736 sq ft unit will include a large outdoor seating area with uninterrupted views of Durham Cathedral and Castle and along the city’s picturesque riverside.

In his post, Mr Watts said: "The council told us we could only open in January 2023. We hired and trained a full team and even had food and drink on the tables in preparation for opening.

"The council once again delayed our opening.

"The developer of the entire project, Tolent, went into administration in February 2023. They were developing the project on behalf of the council.

"Since then, it has been almost radio silence from the council as to when we can open. The council is set to become our landlord, but they won’t even let us know when that is happening.

"Everyman Cinemas and Premier Inn are in the same boat with fully completed venues."

"At a time when the UK needs jobs, needs investment, and needs economic rejuvenation more than ever, this staggering display of incompetence here by the council is almost beyond comprehension."

A spokesperson for the developer, The Arlington Real Estate and Richardson JV, said: “We have every sympathy with BrewDog. Durham Council is to be the landlord for the occupiers and had challenged some of the original design, these matters are resolved and are awaiting formal agreement.

“Also, when our main contractor entered administration, we started a technical review of works. The review has confirmed that on some parts of the building an incorrect thickness of intumescent paint was applied to some steel.

“We have appointed external experts to deal with the problem and prepare a new timetable for the completion of this work, we will be able to give an indication of the completion date once the council has reached agreement with the development team.

“We are incredibly disappointed by the findings of the technical review, as this has caused our development to run late and is inconveniencing future occupiers and people in Durham. However, we must always prioritise safety.  

“Everyone can be assured that our team is working at pace to deal with these issues, and to deliver what will be a fantastic addition to Durham City Centre.”

Recommended reading: 

Brewdog to move into Milburngate site in Durham city centre

Milburngate apology as Brewdog blames 'no clear message'

Brewdog delay decision on Milburngate Durham site due to Tolent

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A spokesperson for Durham County Council said: “We are aware of the concerns of BrewDog and we are disappointed with the progress at this site.

"It is important to clarify that Durham County Council is not responsible for the delivery of this development. The Milburngate site is owned by a private company and is not in the control of the council.

“They are responsible for resolving issues arising from work carried out by the contractor Tolent and that need to be addressed before the site can open.

"It is not within the council’s remit to say when this will be. The council has worked tirelessly to try and support the success of this scheme, and further information will be provided when it is available.”