Plans to transform the historic gate houses at the entrance to the Mount Oswald estate in Durham into a unique new property have been approved by Durham County Council.

As part of its continuing development of the overall Mount Oswald site, the Durham-headquartered Banks Group put forward an application earlier in the year to turn the two 19th century structures into a four-bedroom family home set in the existing mature woodland.

Banks worked with award-winning North East architect MawsonKerr on the development of the design for the project, which sits off South Road, close to the Durham University campus, and assembled a team of specialist craftspeople to ensure that the proposed design protected and retained the historic fabric of the buildings.

The southern gate house will now be returned to the original form in which it was built and connected to a new glass and timber-framed extension, while the northern gate house will be converted into a storage area for the main house.

The existing stone boundary wall will also be rebuilt as part of the scheme.

Banks is currently in discussion with potential buyers for the property, which is being marketed through Durham-based agents H&H Land and Property, and is hoping to successfully complete negotiations in time for work to begin on the project next summer.

John Ruddick, senior property development manager at The Banks Group, says: “The Mount Oswald gate houses offered us a unique space in which to do something really special and we’re excited to be getting the chance to bring our vision for it to life.

“The southern gate house will be restored to its original form and the maximum amount possible of both structures will be maintained within the new property’s design.

“The gate houses will provide a wonderful location in which to live and we hope to see construction work starting on the project in the not-too-distant future.”

Dan Kerr, director at MawsonKerr Architects, adds: “The scheme re-establishes the gate houses and brings them back to life in a respectful way with a contemporary understated house to the rear.  The design is low energy, using sustainable materials and construction techniques, and will showcase the best of both the old and new.”

Work on different aspects of the Mount Oswald scheme, which was designed by Banks in support of the County Council’s vision of Durham City acting as a driver of economic growth in the county, is continuing, with around two-thirds of the properties being built by David Wilson Homes, and Bellway in the different residential parts of the site now being occupied.

Landscaping and infrastructure work is being carried out to support the development of the site’s public open spaces, play areas and network of footpaths, while Durham County Council is continuing to progress plans to convert the Manor House into a new history centre and the new Durham University colleges at Mount Oswald have been occupied since September.

John Ruddick continues: “Mount Oswald is continuing to evolve into the type of high-quality development that we’d originally envisaged, and as a long-established Durham-based family firm, we are proud to be taking forward an excellent scheme which will have long-term positive impacts on many levels for both the city and the wider region.”

For further information on the overall Mount Oswald development, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/mount-oswald