A retired Durham County Council worker who witnessed the construction of Milburngate House in the 1960s has helped start the demolition of the building, which will pave the way for the creation of a premium, mixed-use development.

David Glencorse, 69, performed the ceremonial start of the external demolition of the former passport office, which will be delivered by North East specialists Thompsons of Prudhoe working in partnership with the regeneration project’s lead contractor, Carillion Building.

He began working as a clerk at County Hall in the Weights and Measures department in 1965, when Milburngate House was first being constructed, and regularly walked past the development on his way to the post office in Claypath to pay in funds for colleagues’ National Insurance stamps.

Now living in Willington, after many years in Newton Hall, David spent 45 years in the Weights and Measures and Trading Standards departments at councils across the North East before retiring.

David joined the demolition team to start the process of transforming the site into the £150m Milburngate development, which will lead to the creation of more than 1,000 full-time jobs and 650 construction jobs.

Having progressed ahead with the internal strip out of the building, the contractors are now undertaking the 12-month demolition programme in preparation for the construction of Milburngate.

Following planning permission being awarded earlier in November, the developers behind the project, Carillion, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP, are now focused on delivering this brand new living, working and leisure destination in Durham’s city centre.

At the heart of Milburngate will be an Everyman Cinema, alongside a collection of premium leisure restaurants and bars, high-specification apartments and sustainable, energy-efficient office space.

David Glencorse said: “I saw Milburngate House being built from the foundations up, including the pouring of the concrete, so I was honoured to be asked to help start the next chapter of the site’s future. The plans for Milburngate are very exciting and definitely better than what is there at the moment.”

Steve Hunter, Project Director, Carillion Building, said: “This is a landmark moment for the regeneration of Durham City’s riverside and we were delighted that David, who was there when the original construction began on the site in the 1960s, could play a part in helping us to start the process of transforming the site for the benefit of the city and future generations of residents, workers and visitors.”