Plans unveiled for £50m student development

18-29 Claypath (640x425)By Becky Wilson

Developers hope to spend £50 million on a new block of student flats on Claypath.

The development would demolish the area’s “fairly unattractive elements”, replacing Oldfields, Kwik Fit and Warm Sanctuary with accommodation for 440 students.

Student Castle, the accommodation company behind the plans, claims to “take into account what students really need”, despite charging just under £140 per week for rent alone at its schemes in Newcastle and York.

As well as designing rooms in a “fresh, clean style”, the proposed development would offer 3D TVs, ultrafast broadband and “state-of-the-art common rooms”.

The development could reach up to seven stories, with 311 studios and 24 cluster flats.

Reception to the proposals has been mixed.

Helen McKaigue, a second year from St Aidan’s, doubts that the new developments will be affordable for students, saying: “I imagine it’d be quite expensive and out of the average student’s price range.

“But if you could afford it, living in the centre of town in such nice accommodation would be ideal.”

However Durham’s residents appear less keen at this prospect. A straw poll published in the Durham Times found that locals did not think student accommodation would be appropriate in the Claypath area.

This sentiment was also voiced by Elvet and Gilesgate County Councillor, David Freeman, who said: “It is very questionable whether Durham needs further student developments”.

Palatinate also spoke to Fred Adamson, a resident in Durham City, who believes that Student Castle should take into account the opinions of the city’s permanent residents.

He said: “If construction companies would release housing for families in the city that would be good, but I don’t see that happening.”

However, the Managing Director of Student Castle, Edward Cade, commented: “We will be delivering a high quality product in a central and sustainable location that is going to be attractive to students, and help release housing stock in the local housing market for local people”.

Photograph: Venus Loi

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