DEVELOPERS say their £30m scheme to boost a city centre's night-time economy will not become part of the pub crawl circuit.

Amec, which transformed Newcastle's Quayside, started work three months ago on the redevelopment of the Walkergate car park, which is below Durham City's Millennium Place, home of the Gala Theatre.

The long-awaited development will include a multi-storey car park, hotel run by a budget operator, apartments, restaurants and caf-bars as well as public spaces and Millennium Steps leading to Millennium Place.

Trouble caused by drinkers has long been an issue for some city centre residents, particularly those living near North Road, which is home to two nightclubs and late-closing pubs, and suffers rowdyism in the early hours on weekends.

During a presentation on the development by Amec to Durham City Council, residents raised concerns that Walkergate's licensed premises could attract circuit drinkers from North Road.

But Matthew Crompton, the company's developments director, said: "I don't envisage it will become another North Road. This is driven by restaurants.''

He and senior development surveyor Dan Needham said some of the units were designed to be restaurants and would be unsuitable as pubs and that lease conditions and on-site management would maintain the quality of the development.

The pair said that high-calibre operators had been attracted and that the development would increase the city's tourist facilities and help boost its earnings from visitors as well as creating about 300 jobs.

Mr Crompton said the scheme had been totally re-designed from the plans of 1998 - which included a multi-screen cinema, nightclub and bowling alley and bingo club - because of developments elsewhere in the city and changes in the leisure market.

He said a global downturn in new cinema building caused that element of the scheme to fall through and three operators to walk away when they were close to signing a deal.

But he added that he genuinely believed the latest proposals were much better than the original scheme.