by Harriet Line
A public meeting held on Thursday has revealed that Durham University is to work with the developer Banks Property on plans to build 1,000 flats on the Mount Oswald Golf Course.
The north eastern corner of the 93 acre estate off South Road could house sixteen self-design homes, 56 executive homes, 250 family homes, community facilities, parkland and student accommodation, whilst Mount Oswald Manor House would be transformed into offices, in an attempt to free up city housing for local families.
Critics state that the plans are too big and would sacrifice important green space in what a spokesperson from the Save Mount Oswald Campaign described as, “One of the most beautiful spaces [of Durham city].” Concerns about an increase in traffic have also been raised.
Banks Property have asked Durham County Council for outlying planning permission for their plans, despite fierce opposition from students and MP’s.
Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods has urged residents to fight the plans.
Moving student accommodation further out of the city has been criticised in the past as a move to reduce the collegiality of Durham. As the Palatine centre, which opened this month, moved some departments away from the city centre, the proposed accommodation plans will increase fears of Durham becoming a campus university.
However, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Chris Higgins, stated that the new accommodation would be part of the collegiate system with a balanced academic community consisting of undergraduates, post graduates, Fellows and senior academics. It is unclear whether the student accommodation would be in the form of a new college or private flats.
Photographs: Durham University