Tyne & Wear

Protests over Durham County Council £50m city centre HQ move

Protest in Durham
Image caption Protesters gathered in the Market Place to voice their concerns

Protesters have gathered in Durham over plans to move the council's headquarters to a city centre location.

Durham County Council wants to leave its current home in Aykley Heads and build a new £50m HQ at The Sands car park.

The authority says it will "reduce costs" and "boost the economy", but campaigners believe the site could harm business and cause traffic problems.

Hundreds of letters have been sent to the council opposing the plans.

Poppy Solari, who has a stall at Durham market, said: "I think it is the most ridiculous idea ever, there is no reason for it to be in the centre of Durham.

"There are plenty of other places that will gain from having a county hall there, little villages that need that little economy to help them, we don't need it.

"As a business I'm not going to gain anything from people going to work and going back home."

Image caption Residents are concerned it will cause traffic issues in the city centre

In a statement, Durham County Council, said "Not only would 1,000 council workers be relocated to Durham city centre, but more staff would also be based in Crook, Spennymoor and Seaham, providing additional business for retailers and eateries at a difficult time for high streets across the country.

"The move would also enable us to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop prime land at Aykley Heads into a business park. This would create up to 6,000 new high-quality jobs and result in a £400m boost to the county's economy."

The plans are expected to be approved on Tuesday.

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