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Durham Council Approves 850-bed Scheme

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Durham County Council have granted outline planning permission for an 850-bed student accommodation block situated on land north of Mount Oswald.

The purpose-built student accommodation will be developed by The Banks Group, with delivery expected in phases between late 2018 and 2020.

During the application process, locals raised several concerns.

One of the issues was whether the new PBSA was inconsistent with the 2014 Interim Policy on Student Accommodation, which maintains that "new student accommodation should not be built at the expense of general housing as the Council must address the need for new family and affordable housing."

In addition, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) also stressed the need to protect the Green Belt, while some questioned if the scheme would reach full occupation.

Marie-Louise Milliken, of The Banks Group, disputed this concern, saying: "There is a clear need for further student accommodation within the Durham City Centre and we consider Mount Oswald to be the most appropriate, logical and sustainable location for this."

Despite reservations from residents, Durham University also lent its support to the project. Jane Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of Durham University, said: "We need a world class estate in order to deliver our University Strategy, which includes proposals to increase our student population to a maximum of 21,500 by 2027 and house over 50% of our students in College accommodation."