The increase in licensed drinking premises in the city centre continues apace despite public and, at times, police anxiety.
Coming hard on the heels of the successful application to convert part of the Half Moon into a large drinking hall, and Yates Wine Bar winning their appeal for North Road premises, the latest application is for conversion of the former Palladium cinema in Claypath into a two-storey drinking and dining parlour. Notwithstanding the four licensed premises already in the street, it is surely quite the wrong use for a site almost adjacent to the 40-plus residential units emerging in the old post office building, with other similar units possible in Ruth First House opposite.
It is ironic that, while urbanologists and politicians speak in favour of city centre living, the increase in leisure and licensed late-night premises have made it progressively less attractive in recent years. Interestingly, however, when the government set up a Review Committee on the general subject last May, George Howarth MP pronounced that "paramount in drawing up proposals will be balancing the rights of business and consumers with the rights of residents to be free from disorder and violence, or other kinds of disturbance."
In Trustees' opinion, the balance in Durham is already tilted against residents' rights, not only of those living in Claypath, but also those in other streets leading from the centre - Church Street and Hallgarth Street, Crossgate and Allergate and South Street