New private student accommodation planned in Durham

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In the last few months, two new private student accommodation projects have been planned in Durham on the former sites of Majestic Bingo & Social Club on Sherburn Road and Hallgarth Care Home.

Derby-based PMI Developments and Peveril Securities is intending to transform the Gilesgate bingo hall into a student accommodation block with space for 128 students.

Meanwhile, Unity Living have submitted plans to convert Hallgarth Care Home into nine student flats with 69 bedrooms.

Demolition work on the bingo hall site is planned to take place in the coming months, with the company intending for work to be completed before the start of the 2025 academic year.

In Durham’s 2017-2027 plan, the institution announced its intention to increase student numbers to 21,500 by 2027

Director and owner of PMI Developments, Nigel Jones, said: “With the well-publicised shortage of student beds in and around Durham, we are delighted with the purchase of this site, to help provide quality accommodation for this world class university. We purchased the site within a seven-week period and look forward to commencing development.”

In Durham’s 2017-2027 plan, the institution announced its intention to increase student numbers to 21,500 by 2027.

Bradley Hall, who are marketing the new development, predicted a wave of similar student developments appearing around the city in the coming years.

Peter Bartley, Group Director at Bradley Hall, added: “As the University continues to grow its ranks, it is only going to lead to increased strain on what is an already over-stretched student housing market, making it inevitable that more developments will start springing up over the next few years.”

However, the initial proposal for the Apollo bingo hall to be demolished was met with heavy opposition. Durham County Council received 35 letters of objection, including opposition from the City of Durham MP.

Councillors however voted in favour of the plan with a 10-2 vote and one abstention.

Plans have also recently been submitted to Durham County Council by Unity Living to transform the Hallgarth Care Home into student flats.

The owners, Four Season Health Care, announced the care home’s closure in June. The GMB Union, which represented workers at the home, called the closure a “cold-blooded decision based on profit”.

Neil Jarvis, Durham County Council’s senior commissioning delivery manager, said: “We have worked closely with the care provider, residents, and families to ensure all residents were successfully relocated before the home’s closure.”

“Our adult care social work teams have followed up on all cases to ensure transitions to new care homes have gone smoothly. All care staff members who wished to continue working in the sector have been supported in finding employment elsewhere.”

The GMB Union, which represented workers at the home, called the closure a “cold-blooded decision based on profit”

The student housing crisis in Durham was covered by national publications last year as a shortage of affordable and available housing left students queuing overnight outside estate agents.

The University has seen increased student numbers over the last couple of years. However, in a statement to Palatinate last year, the University said this was because they “were obliged as a result of the UK Government policy responding to Covid-19 to take a higher than anticipated undergraduate students’ intake”.

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2 thoughts on “New private student accommodation planned in Durham

  • The bald statement that “In Durham’s 2017-2027 plan, the institution announced its intention to increase student numbers to 21,500 by 2027” does not portray the actual situation. Due to the ‘A’ level fiasco the number of Durham University students reached 22,130 in December 2022, well exceeding th target for 2026/27. The University is committed to managing the numbers back down to the target of 21,500 for the year 2026/27. So the number went down by 90 to 22,040 in December 2023 and should continue to reduce, not increase. It is not helpful to feed into the letting agents’ line that there is a shortage of student accommodation per se; what is true is that some of it is poor quality and some is inconveniently distant from the University’s teaching facilities.

    Reply
    • We have to remember that Durham is very small city with around 30K population and very limited accommodation for local members. How we can accommodate more than 22K students in this area. Even the university straggling to provide proper quality services for their students.
      Already we have huge disaster!
      I don’t know what the university, the council, the health services and the police is going to do with this, as they cannot to help local members to feel safe in Durham

      Reply

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