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Prince Bishops Place occupies a prominent position at the gateway to Durham’s historic peninsular, with the medieval streetscapes synonymous with the City to the south, but contemporary developments like Milburngate and The Riverwalk also nearby along the A690.

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The existing arrangement of the shopping centre means that the public thoroughfare within the site has become a ‘closed loop’, which leads nowhere in particular and puts pressure on the retail uses to provide a draw which encourages people to walk through the site.


In truth much of today’s circulation originates from the car park, with the building acting as an obstacle between New Elvet Bridge, the Market Square and the Castle and Cathedral beyond. 

We see a huge opportunity to work with the existing building to create a new public space which enhances visitors’ experience of Durham, whilst also providing high quality retail and leisure uses, as well as student accommodation and a hotel.


In opening the building to the river, we intend to form a new public square which creates views out across Durham whilst also tying together pedestrian routes from New Elvet Bridge, the River Wear and the Market Square. It will also provide a place to stop and enjoy the views and public events.

The existing building structures currently have a contrived mixture of architectural details and a false roofscape attempting to imitate the aesthetic of the historic surrounding streets. We are looking to replace this with a contemporary but contextual, and fundamentally more honest design that breaks down the mass of the existing building, helping to transition between the surrounding roofscape and a new feature hotel with breath-taking views facing out to the river.

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The creation of a landmark new public square in the heart of Durham City Centre is a key component of the proposed redevelopment. The square would act as the fulcrum to the new scheme, hosting the main entrances to the hotel and student accommodation, as well as a range of shops, restaurants and leisure uses. 

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As a key aspect of the entire redevelopment proposals, the new square will open up views of the City the public have never previously been able to see, and in turn would support our retail and leisure operators; making the scheme viable for all.

Both by drawing visitors through the scheme via High Street, and increasing their dwell-time upon arrival in the square itself, the new public space will help to underpin the viability of the whole redevelopment.

It would be large enough to cater for a range of events hosted by the centre, as well as more informal performance spaces and seating areas linked to the surrounding restaurants and hotel.


There is also the potential to create a riverside seating terrace with dramatic views to Elvet Bridge and the riverside. High quality materials would be adopted throughout the scheme.

Soft landscaping in the form of planting and small trees would also provide a green fringe to the square and shelter the areas of seating around its edge. 

This would utilise the site’s pleasant south facing aspect, whilst encouraging social interaction and making sure visitors can enjoy the space.

Proposed Public Square

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