Hotel bosses keen to retain hall’s character
Fire chiefs warn of household dangers EARLY 2018 OPENING DATE DRAWING CLOSE
THE most common causes of household fires in the North East have been revealed.
Smoking, unattended cooking equipment and dirty grill pans are the most likely things to cause a blaze, according to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS).
Overheating microwaves, overloaded sockets, and electricals left charging for too long are also liable to start a blaze.
Keith Carruthers, area manager for community safety at TWFRS, said: “Fires can devastate lives and homes, but the good news is that most fires that occur in the home are preventable.
“The bad news is that many of our communities don’t see the risks.
“Our advice is simple: don’t smoke – but if you do, make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.
“Keep your grill pans clean; keep your hobs clear and never leave a pan unattended on your hob; don’t leave mobile phones and laptops charging for extended periods and be careful you don’t overload sockets.
“And – vitally – make sure you have a working smoke alarm.”
Fires caused by smoking are the most dangerous. The service says 50% of deaths in house fires since 2009 were caused by “smoking materials”.
Smokers are advised to take particular care when tired or in bed to avoid falling asleep while a cigarette is still burning.
The service advises against chip pans, but added users should not fill them more than onethird full with oil and never throw water on it.
Homeowners are encouraged to have an escape plan ready, with a backup route. The Old Shire Hall, Old Elvet, Durham, which is being transformed into a Hotel Indigo. Pictured sales and marketing manager Luke Balcombe THE multi-million pound renovation of a historic Durham city centre building into a hotel and restaurant is progressing.
Workmen moved into the Grade II-listed Old Shire Hall earlier this year to start converting the building into an 83-bed Hotel Indigo.
The £15 million redevelopment will also include a 100- cover Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
Period features, such as the tiled marble staircases, wood panelling and stained glass windows, will be retained.
A circular debating chamber and lobby room will also remain in the guise of a new restaurant and cocktail bar.
Luke Balcombe, sales and marketing manager, said: “As we have been working on the building we have been discovering original features that have been covered up.
“Every room is a different shape and there’s something unique about each of them.
“On one side of the hotel all of the rooms look out onto the cathedral.”
As well as the hotel and restaurant, there will also be a Tinderbox coffee shop and function room that can be used for weddings, conferences and events.
The hotel, which will be managed by Interstate Hotels and Resorts, is expected to open in spring 2018.
Mr Balcombe added: “The project is progressing as planned.
“I think the big thing about this is that it’s in a key city centre location and the key to our brand is very much design.
“If you come to Durham there is so much history and we have picked a building that tells a story of the city.
“Each Hotel Indigo tells a neighbourhood story and Durham is perfect for that.”
He added: “There is quite a lot of feeling for the building locally and we want to reassure people we are enhancing it and keeping the original features.”
The building was built in the 1890s for Durham City Council and was home to the authority until it moved to County Hall in the 1960s.
It then became the administration centre for Durham University until 2012 and has been empty since then.
The hotel is expected create around 60 jobs. to