Work has begun on the demolition of the outside of Milburngate House, a brutalist 1960s building that used to house Durham’s Passport Office. Milburngate House, considered an eyesore by many, will be replaced by a cutting-edge building containing shops, offices, restaurants, flats and even a cinema. Some demolition work has already taken place on Milburngate House’s interior.
The outside demolition was officially begun by David Glencorse. Mr Glencorse, 69, watched Milburngate House being built when he was a young clerk for Durham County Council.
While working at County Hall in the Weights and Measures Department, Mr Glencorse would often walk past Milburngate House’s construction site on his way to the post office, where he would pay in cash towards his co-workers’ national insurance contributions.
Mr Glencorse, now retired, said, “I saw Milburngate House being built from the foundations up so I was honoured to be asked to help start the next chapter of the site’s future.”
“The plans for Milburngate are very exciting and definitely better than what is there at the moment.”
Steve Hunter, from Carillion – the company that will build the new development on the Milburngate site – said, “This is a landmark moment for the regeneration of Durham City’s riverside, and we were delighted that David, who was there when the original construction began on the site in the 1960s, could play a part in helping us start the process of transforming the site for the benefit of the city and future generations of residents, workers and visitors.”
— Vitruvian Architect (@Vitruvianas) November 4, 2016
While few will be sad to see Milburngate House go, the plans for its replacement have provoked some controversy. On the upside, it is hoped that the new development will create 1000 jobs and 400 homes, and attract more visitors to Durham. But a number of concerns have been raised. These range from worries over the building’s effect on local trees and wildlife to claims the development will obscure views of Durham Cathedral. There is also a fear that locals will be priced out of the new homes by wealthy students and professionals.