Ho­tel bosses keen to re­tain hall’s char­ac­ter

Fire chiefs warn of house­hold dan­gers EARLY 2018 OPEN­ING DATE DRAW­ING CLOSE

Sunday Sun - - News - By Kali Lind­say Re­porter kali.lind­say@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

TIM MCGUINNESS

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