University to build additional 1,000 beds on Mount Oswald site

Mount Oswald_cut

Site plan for proposed Mount Oswald development.

By Justin Villamil

Durham University has entered into a contract with the Banks Group developers to put an additional 1,000 student beds on the Mount Oswald site, a former golf course.

Part of a larger development of the area, the additional student accommodation is close to the Business School and a number of colleges, though the University has not yet been more specific as to whether this new development would be a new college or attached to an existing one.

The entire development scheme secured by the Banks Group is worth £200 million and was decided over the concerns of many residents about the improper use of greenspace.

However, the plans for overall development also currently include the development of over 25 acres of public open space throughout the site, including a seven-acre park and five equipped children’s playgrounds near housing developments, according to plans posted on the Banks Group website.

According to Harry Banks, Banks Group chairman and chief executive, the a large goal of the construction will be rebalancing some of the pressures put on the city center by student numbers.

“Throughout the planning stages of the project, we have been encouraged by the county council’s wishes to see Durham City being developed as a driver of economic growth across the county,” Banks said in a statement to The Northern Echo.

“We believe that these developments will support those aims by providing more new family homes and by enabling the University to provide modern accommodation in very pleasant surroundings for its students whilst at the same time easing some of the pressures on residents in the city and freeing up more homes and space for families to enjoy.”

According to the Banks Group, the first phase of housing is due to start in the New Year.

More than 60 houses in the southern part of the site have already been slated for construction by David Wilson Homes. The first families could be occupying homes on the site before the end of 2014.

Image courtesy of the Banks Group.

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