Durham City developments and the small trader


Durham City seems to have been a building site for a long time now. The building of the two roundabouts at Leazes Bowl and Gilesgate took an age to complete, disrupting traffic and visitors alike. Then there were the repairs to Millburngate Bridge, and further digging up of Nevilles Cross. Now we have the changes in the City centre. New student accommodation is being built in Claypath, the Old Hospital on North Road and at Neville’s Cross. The old Passport Office demolition and the remodelling of the Millburngate shopping centre mean that the West side of the river will change beyond recognition in the next couple of years.

New millburngate development in Durham photo

There will also be a lot of new outlets, with a ton of money thrown in their direction. Footfall will be drawn to this side of the city. This will put the smaller traders in a very vulnerable position as business is in danger of being sucked away by the shiny new shops and outlets. Some say that the new developments will increase footfall elsewhere, but I’m not convinced.

Big Retailers Lost

We’ve already lost several businesses from Silver Street alone. The Post Office, Marks and Spencer, Krispy Kreme, Pret a Manger, Greenwoods and Cafe Rouge have all moved on from that one street (prime spots) in the last few months. Some big names there!  We all know about the BHS debacle and closure. Their old store stood empty for a long long time. New Look and Next are under pressure and Sweet Tooth Delivery seem to have abandoned their kiosk. There’s also a rumour that Boots will vacate their store in the Market Place. This is all in the space of a few weeks. What is going on?

It therefore becomes even more important for businesses to get their online representation sorted out, to maximise their exposure and give themselves the best chance of staying with us in Durham.


.@DurhamCityzen The Planning Application for the new County HQ on The Sands has just been added to the public access online system. Reference DM/18/02369/FPA and link https://t.co/asC9S1iPEB

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I’ve always been extremely loyal to the town I live in and will support it and promote it as much as I can. The Council can be extremely biased when promoting Durham. It tends towards promoting the companies that either pay it directly, or it will benefit from. Walking around the streets reveals the places that the Council will neglect, that i’d love to start helping. As everything is online these days, futures, reputations and profits can rest on what the World sees when it looks for businesses online (if your website is found at all).

So, i’m offering to help local small businesses to maximise their online position by auditing their whole online presence, including search engine position, competitors position, your reviews, reputation and citations. It’ll show you just how well (or badly) your business is represented on the web.

Head on over to the SEO Reports page now to run a free report to see how your business is doing. You’ll then be in a position to do something about it.


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  1. We’ve lost another retailer today from Durham. It was a local retailer who had run into difficulties. Grainger Games began life in the Grainger Market in Newcastle. They had multiple stores around the country. They didn’t fail for any reason that could be blamed on Durham’s business rates or rent, it was probably that their business model wasn’t robust enough to withstand modern digital delivery of it’s core products. However, it was sad that a couple of days ago, Durham County Council could be seen clapping their hands on their Facebook page after Grainger Games had been prosecuted for an overloaded van (it was emptying one of their stores). They were fined £6,000 for this. DCC were full of glee pointing this out. Their cheering sounds a little hollow now doesn’t it?

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