A DOOMED Durham landmark looks like being around for years.

Brown's Boathouse, the home of rowing boat hire near Elvet Bridge, was destined to make way for a £3m glass-fronted pub able to hold hundreds of drinkers.

But new owners, Newcastle-based Ultimate Leisure, have run into a costly problem that has scuppered their plans.

A major water mains runs between the nineteenth century building and the nearby Prince Bishops shopping centre and the cost of avoiding damage during construction will be prohibitive. So the company, which owns the nearby Klute nightclub, plans to retain the building, for a smaller scale caf and bar.

Graham Bolton, of Ultimate Leisure's agents Bolton Emery, said: "The engineering works and the presence of the main water main for Durham have meant that the cost of the original scheme has escalated out of proportion. The logistics of doing the work and getting the foundations sorted was turning out to be a much bigger job, with barges needed in the river to carry kit and equipment.

"Instead of having a development on three or four levels the new scheme will operate on two, as a mixed caf bar.''

The boathouse's demolition was approved by a planning inspector following a public inquiry earlier this year. The City of Durham Trust campaigned against the development and collected signatures on a petition calling for the building, which is closely linked to the city's rowing history, to be saved.

Trust chairman Roger Cornwell said: "It does look as if Brown's Boathouse will live on pretty much in its current form.

"It is good news. The 4,000 people who signed our petition will be as pleased as we are.The way of saving it is something we put forward as possibility at the public inquiry.''

Mr Cornwell added that the trust would support the firm's planning new application to the city council.