£700,000 spent on Vice-Chancellor’s residence refurbishment


Figures obtained by Palatinate have uncovered the substantial cost of major refurbishments conducted on the University-owned 19th-century property, Hollingside House, in 2016.

Hollingside features the Vice-Chancellor’s official residence and the main house, which is a University facility for hosting the Vice-Chancellor’s events and visitors. In 2016, cost estimate documents obtained through Freedom of Information Requests revealed that over £700,000 has been spent on the property.

The documents include a breakdown of expenditure including £43,200 on an architect, £16,572 on an interior designer and £3,792 on a bat survey. The vast majority of the costs were attributable to major internal and external works by the selected contractor.

Hollingside House is also home to a substantial number of works from the university’s valuable art portfolio acquired over the last decade at a cost of £2.5 million

Jennifer Sewel, University Secretary at Durham University, said: “Hollingside House is owned by Durham University and is used for business purposes, including meetings and events. The Vice-Chancellor lives in at two-bedroomed flat attached to the House, wherein he also maintains an office.

“The money spent on Hollingside House in 2015-2017 was to address issues of rising damp, undertake major works to the roof and for general refurbishment and decoration as part of a planned programme. No major capital expenditure has been undertaken since.”

The document shines further light on the heavy cost of the University’s policy of providing homes to its most senior employees. The figures have been uncovered shortly after Palatinate revealed draft proposals to spend millions of pounds on the properties of Heads of Colleges.

Hollingside House is also home to a substantial number of works from the university’s valuable art portfolio acquired over the last decade at a cost of £2.5 million. In 2016, Durham University was ranked the third highest university spender on artwork in England and was only outspent by Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Events held at Hollingside House have historically included lunches and dinners with a wide variety of the Vice-Chancellor’s guests ranging from ambassadors to Common Room Presidents.


5 thoughts on “£700,000 spent on Vice-Chancellor’s residence refurbishment

  • We have windows rotting out and not enough student support staff in our college, but yeah, 700k on VC’s house is soundly spent.

    I have been wondering where all the money went, guess this is part of the answer.

  • Quite fantastic and corrupt to set aside such huge sums of money which could have been spent on other things. Or not spent in the first place. We have the same problem where I live. How does fees of 1k daily sound like?

    Nice money if you can get your hands on the stuff. Not that much hope for the rest of us.

    • Its absolutely disgusting the money wasted on vice chancellor ,the staff get nothing

  • So those at the very top get free luxury accommodation while hourly-paid teaching staff don’t make enough to pay the rent (the university pays less than £50 for an hour-long lecture, including preparation, which is at least a day’s work, so considerably less than the national minimum wage). These people make Mike Ashley look like Jesus Christ himself.

  • And no doubt the Vice Chancellor will be renting his own private house out while at Durham. £700, 000 is, a tremendous amount which needs investigating surely?
    Get the local media onto this outrage


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