Carillion (Maple Oak) Ltd
Durham County Council
UK’s First City Centre Hydro Power Generator
Freemans Reach, Durham City
DPP were instructed to prepare, submit and manage a planning application for the replacement of the former ice rink with a mixed-use development comprising offices, restaurants and cafes. The development will provide a new headquarters for National Savings & Investments (NS&I) and Her Majesties Passport Office (HMPO) which will safeguard and create 2,500 jobs. The project will also create new public spaces on the river edge and includes a water turbine (Archimedes Screw) which will supply much of the energy for the new development; as well as representing an evolution of the historic use of the River Wear to generate energy for the site.
DPP successfully coordinated the planning application process, through preparation and submission of the planning application within an agreed timetable. The application process required extensive public consultation with members of the local community, key stakeholders and statutory consultees, which was organised and executed by DPP. Two public consultation events were held to demonstrate the evolution of the design to the general public prior to submission.
As the site is within Flood Zone 3, DPP prepared an Environmental Impact Assessment to assess the site’s suitability for development prior to application submission. This document justified the suitability of the Freeman’s Reach site for the proposed development and that no other sites were sequentially preferable. This was fundamental to the success of the overall application.
DPP successfully demonstrated that although the Freemans Reach site is located within the flood zone, the proposed development would be suitable in this location. A revised application for Phase 2 of the development was approved in February 2014 which brings an additional 1,205.4 sq.m of office space to the scheme as well as a customer service centre. DPP continue to provide planning advice in relation to the discharge of planning conditions and minor amendments to the scheme.