Hild Bede set to reopen accommodation on main College site

By Emily Doughty &

The College of St Hild and St Bede is due to reopen accommodation on its main site. The college had previously decided to house all new students externally to allow for preparation to take place for a “rolling programme of developments” starting in August 2023. 

The decision means that first year students joining Hild Bede this year will be living across three different sites in Durham – the main site, New Kepier Court and Ernest Place. While New Kepier Court is just a five-minute walk away from the main Hild Bede site, Ernest Place is a 20-minute walk away. 

In an email sent to students, Professor Simon Forrest, Principal of the College, announced the decision to reopen one of Hild Bede’s halls of residence in light of an “exceptionally high demand for University accommodation this year due to a reduction of private accommodation in Durham City.”

The University had originally intended to close accommodation on the main College site due to the potential cost associated in keeping the site open. In the student email, Forrest explained that “ensuring that all new students can have College accommodation in Durham is the University’s priority, and so it will now bear these costs, if any works are required to keep the site operational”.

The decision means that first year Hild Bede students will be living across three sites in Durham City

Plans had already been made to keep various parts of the main College site open for the coming academic year: including the Student Support office, JCR, George Smith reading rooms and other Common Rooms. Since the change in plans, Forrest said “we do intend to reopen the Caedmon and the dining hall and we anticipate that we will therefore be able to make use of that space”.

He also said that events would not be held solely in the college, with the ambition being, “to have a mix of events at Riverside, in other local venues and Ernest Place.”

The college had previously planned to house all students wanting to stay in University run accommodation in Ernest Place and New Kepier Court, privately operated accommodation in Durham. Explained in previous emails to Hild Bede students that “much needed improvements” could take place at the college starting next year. 

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, said in a statement to Palatinate that “We have experienced an exceptionally high demand for University accommodation this year due to a reduction in the availability of private accommodation in Durham City.

 “We had previously not planned on using our accommodation on the main Hild Bede site… however, we want to ensure that all our first year undergraduate students who choose to do so are able to benefit from living in College-managed accommodation… as a result, we have decided to re-open some accommodation on the Hild Bede site.”

Image: Durham University

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