Matthew Neville

“Irreplaceable” County Durham heritage hub set for £7.25m restoration project

Plans for the £7.25m refurbishment and extension of Durham Miners Hall have been approved by Durham County Council.

The council has backed the proposals to secure the future of the hall. Known as Redhills, the hall opened in 1915 as the purpose-built headquarters of the Durham Miners Association (DMA).

The Grade II-listed hall in the Durham City Conservation Area will be transformed into a vibrant centre of culture, heritage and education for the Durham coalfield area and beyond.

The project will meet a series of conditions to ensure the invaluable heritage of the hall is protected and that the development is sympathetic to the local environment.

Work is due to start on site in early 2022 and follows a £4.5m grant secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund earlier this year. The overall cost of the project will be £7.25m, with Durham County Council also providing £1.1m along with funding from trade unions and community supporters.

Restoration plans are integral to the long-term sustainability of the building. Redhills will be fully restored and the addition of new buildings with modern facilities will enable Redhills to improve accessibility and offer a wide-ranging programme of activities and community resources.

The renewed Redhills will use cutting-edge audio-visual technology to bring to life the rich history of the DMA, the people and the communities of the Durham coalfield.

Robert Dibden, associate director at the Newcastle office of Lichfields, who secured planning permission and listed building consent on behalf of DMA, said: “We have worked closely with the Durham Miners’ Association and Durham County Council, together with their professional teams, to deliver this project.”

Redhills has been recognised by Historic England as among the 100 ‘irreplaceable’ places in the history of the country, alongside the Palace of Westminster.

Ross Forbes, programme director at Redhills added: “We are delighted to have obtained planning permission and listed building consent for the refurbishment and renewal of Redhills. It is so much more than just a building, and Lichfields understood this. They were able to convey the story of Redhills and the values of the DMA through the planning process.”

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