Students react positively as railings and lights are installed along the river


Speaking to Palatinate, students have praised the installation of fences and lighting along the River Wear.

The fences have been installed along the river between the Bishop Langley pub and the Prebends Bridge, an area deemed to be “high-risk” by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Kate Wetherell, a second year physicist, spoke to Palatinate about how best to improve river safety for students, arguing that fencing and lighting were two of the most important improvements.

“It was so dark you couldn’t see a thing and some of the banks were so steep that the paths literally ended up on the side of the river.”

“It is a good start but it can’t be the end of the University’s involvement – there is so much more to be done.

“There needs to be gates to prevent anyone going near the paths at night. Restricting people’s movement is not great but it could save lives.”

Milly Farley, a second year languages student, was also impressed by the works.

“I think it’s really important that the council have invested time and money to make these improvements.

“They should make a real difference to the public’s safety.”

Andrew Mole, a second year engineer and University rower, praised the works, in particular the installation of fencing on a path used as a shortcut by students travelling to and from Maiden Castle. Students had previously voiced concerns about the safety of the route for those walking back at night.

“Personally, I thought the fencing and rebuilding of the path to Maiden Castle was good as that path is quite well used by students going to and from training.”

Alex Reay, a second year engineer and University swimmer, also expressed this view when speaking to Palatinate.

“When travelling to the maiden castle gym when it was dark, I always had to struggle on the path with my phone light for guidance – there was a constant fear of falling in the river.

“Now it should be safe at all times to walk by the beautiful river.”

The announcement that the University would jointly fund these improvements was made in June.

As well as these works, going into this term a number of other schemes will be in place to help keep students safe.

The Durham Students’ Union Night Bus will be running, as well as the Get Home Safe scheme, which will help vulnerable students to get home should they run out of money.

The Durham City Safety Group has also created a Night Lights map which identifies lit routes home at night. It will be given out to students by their colleges and is available on the student safety webpage.

Photograph: Venus Loi 

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