By Ben Sladden
Consultations regarding the proposed University development on Mount Oswald took place this week.
As part of the £700 million Ten-Year Strategy, the University is seeking to establish two new colleges on the former golf course: a new home for John Snow College and a new, 17th College.
The proposal, costing £85 million, will result in a total of 1,000 new student bed spaces being created.
Outline consent for the Mount Oswald site was granted in February 2013. The University is now seeking approval of the Reserved Matters for the scheme, relating to appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.
It aims to have the space available for students at the start of the 2019/20 academic year.
The two planned colleges on Mount Oswald will be self-catered.
Facilities would include a mixture of en suite and shared bathroom accommodation.
The proposals additionally outline plans for a shared Hub building, which will include a large hall, gym, music and performance space, faith room and laundry, and a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA).
The University has stressed in a statement that the “Mount Oswald project would bring a number of benefits to Durham residents”.
The project will allow community use of the new colleges’ sports and events facilities, as well as providing 30 new jobs and apprenticeships, including opportunities for local schools and colleges.
Although Durham University’s Ten-Year Strategy has involved consultation with local residents, some residents have previously voiced displeasure at the increased building.
An artist’s impression of the new John Snow College / Photograph: Durham University
Richard Metcalfe, a resident near the Mount Oswald site, told The Northern Echo: “I think if they are going to have 2,000 students up there they need to think [about] the impact of having 2,000 young people living a different lifestyle from others in the area.
“In other towns it wouldn’t be an issue but Durham is different because it’s a small place. I have sympathy with the University because it has to grow to survive.”
By 2027 the University has declared its aim to “establish and nurture four to six new Colleges through the life of the new University Strategy.”
Student numbers are set to rise from 17,000 to 21,500 by the close of the Strategy.
Jane Robinson, Chief Operating Officer at Durham University, said: “We are very pleased to be able to announce the details of our proposals for the Mount Oswald site. We are aiming to develop Colleges and facilities that will help us offer a wider student experience to rival anywhere in the world.
“I would like to thank everyone who attended the public exhibition and invite all with an interest in the development to make comments on our proposals via our website. All feedback is valuable to us, and will help us deliver the best development for the University, our staff and students, Durham City and the North East.”
The proposed designs for the new 17th College.
Photography: Durham University