The historic gate houses at the entrance to the Mount Oswald estate in Durham City are set to form the basis of a unique new property.

As part of its continuing development of the overall Mount Oswald site, the Durham-headquartered Banks Group has submitted a planning application which will see the two 19th century structures become a four-bedroom family home set in the existing mature woodland.

The southern gate house will 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 be rebuilt as part of the scheme.

Banks is working with award-winning North East architect MawsonKerr on the design for the project, which sits off South Road, close to the Durham University campus, and a team of specialist craftspeople would be engaged to ensure that work is carried out in the most historically appropriate ways.

The family-owned firm is hoping that the project will come before Durham County Council’s planning committee in the spring, with the aim of starting work in the summer if it is approved then, so that the new home could be ready for occupation by spring next year.

John Ruddick, senior property development manager at The Banks Group, says: “The Mount Oswald gate houses offered us an opportunity to do something really special in this unique location and we believe the concept that we’ve developed very much does it justice.

“The southern gate house was modified many years ago, so we’re restoring it to its original form and will maintain the maximum amount possible of both structures within the new property’s design.

“We’re managing the project ourselves to ensure that the work is carried out in the right ways and are excited to be creating something truly special on this landmark site for our home county.”

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. The aim is to showcase the best of 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 150 of the properties being built by David Wilson Homes, and Bellway in the different residential parts of the site now being occupied.

Landscaping work is also being carried out in advance of the continuing 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.

Work on the Durham University Colleges that are currently being built by Interserve on Mount Oswald, which are due to be occupied by September this year, is also progressing well.

John Ruddick adds: “Mount Oswald is continuing to evolve into the high-quality development that we’d originally envisaged, and excellent progress is being made right across the area.

“As a long-established Durham-based family firm, we are proud to be taking forward an excellent scheme which will have long-term positive implications on many levels for both the city and the wider region.”

For further information on the Mount Oswald development, please visit