Name of new PBSA accommodation block, “The Clink,” causes controversy

By Reece Moore

The name of a new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) building, due for completion in September 2017, has caused controversy due to its proposed name, “The Clink.”

The building is located on Mayorswell Court where a previous Durham University accommodation building, Kepier Court, used to stand.

The new block, managed by Universal Student Living, has already been advertised locally in preparation for the next academic year.

According to its website, the PBSA will “offer students a range of modern en-suite cluster bedrooms and studios all with double beds, large showers and ample storage space.”

En-suite rooms will cost £137 per week over a 51-week contract. However, the local community has taken issue with the name of the accommodation block, calling it inappropriate and insensitive to the area’s history.

The phrase ‘the clink’ is often used to refer to a prison. Durham City Councillor David Freeman has designated the name “disgraceful” and has informed Palatinate that it “hardly gives a good impression to the development or the wider area.”

Kepier House, which is part of the development, was a nineteenth-century home for ‘fallen women’ (those that had ‘lost their way with God’ or had become ‘impure’) and had prison-like features.

Locals feel that “The Clink” name is “out of keeping” with this darker part of the area’s history,  a name which Freeman claims also does not “provide reassurance to nearby residents.”

David Freeman has made appeals to both the owner of the PBSA and to the Durham County Council planning department, to show the local feeling towards the proposed name.

The response has been minimal thus far, with the Council planning department stating that they have had no role in the development of the PBSA, and have very little power regarding the site’s name.

Photograph: Venus Loi

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