Chester-le-Street Heritage Group

The Demolition of the Civic Centre

Monday 3rd November 2014, saw the first stages of the demolition of the town’s Civic Centre building.

The work was undertaken by O’Brien Demolition who installed security fencing around the site before the work commenced.

Rumour had it that the demolition work (which had been scheduled to start in August), had been delayed due to suspected asbestos materials being located in the building. However, the actual reason for the delay was that there had been an application by the 20th Century Society (a conservationist group) made to English Heritage for it to be designated a Grade II listed building, but this was refused as the building was not considered to be “significantly important”.

The land on which the Civic Centre stood, has been allocated for housing following the clearance of the site.

The Civic Centre closed at the end of 2013 when Durham County Council services were transferred to other buildings, including a new town centre customer access point co-located with Cestria Housing in Front Street.

The Civic Centre was opened by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester in 1982 and took 23 months to build.

The architects, Faulkner-Brown Hendy, Watkinson and Stonor of Killingworth conceived the offices as part of a pedestrian route through the town similar to a shopping mall.

The design was highly acclaimed and between 1983 and 1986 received a number of prestigious architectural awards.

The Civic Centre is the starting point for the Town’s Heritage Trail and the information board which stands in front of the Civic Centre may be removed or located elsewhere as a result of the developments.

O’Brien Demolition security fencing in place around the Civic Centre grounds.

The Heritage Trail Board located at the entrance to the Civic Centre

The Civic Centre received a number of prestigious architectural awards

The main thoroughfare and Reception was designed to create the impression of a Shopping Mall and to be light and airy.

Photo Courtesy of Bunty

Photo Courtesy of Catherine

Photo Courtesy of The Heritage Group

Photo Courtesy of The Heritage Group

Photo Courtesy of Bunty

Photo Courtesy of Bunty

Latest Pictures - 20/11/2014

The demolition machinery resting at the end of another days work.

The Parish Church visible in the background over the top of the rubble - a view that hasn’t been possible from this point since 1980.

Please Note:

Since the demolition of the Civic Centre and the clearance of the site, this Heritage Trail Board has been placed in safe keeping until a decision can be made as to where it can be placed.

If this Board is to be relocated, it may have to be redesigned and the information updated.

These are two photographs of the area before the Civic Centre, Police Station and the Clinic was built. In the background you can just make out the Northern Bus Depot behind the allotment gardens c 1960s.

…........ and the same view today!!