Doubts in Durham Over New Accommodation Plans

Posted by Kristina Murkett

Councillors were booed as proposals for more than 200 more student homes were given the green light in Durham - not quite the reception they were hoping for.

The decision was heckled by opponents to the scheme and 27 letters of objection were filed against the site. Although Kepier Court, a brown field development, has been empty since 2005, both Durham University and the Durham City Trust opposed the development, citing the lack of need for student housing in the city.

The lack of clear policy has caused frustration for many councillors - Gavin Scott, Durham county Council's planning policy team leader said that despite the growing numbers of applications 'there was nothing in the national guidance that suggested a need to put a cap on developments.'

Councillor Patrick Conway agreed the existing site was an 'eyesore' but said that he believed there was a risk if applications kept being granted, especially following the approval of plans for a 363-bed student development in Claypath last week. Many have cited fears that Durham will turn into a 'ghost town', as some sites which were granted planning two years ago have still remained untouched.

A final decision on the application rests with the National Planning Casework Unit.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons.