The scheme is a re-fresh of one consented in 2018. Credit: planning documents

Durham primed for 850 student beds

Outline plans by Banks Group for land to the north of Mount Oswald will go to committee recommended for approval.

Architect Ryder is the designer for the project, with Aecom and the Shadbolt Group also advising.

The 7.8-acre site is identified for development within the university’s masterplan and sits on the northern boundary of the former Mount Oswald golf course site.

Banks previously obtained a consent for a similar-sized scheme in 2018, but the permission was never acted on. The firm said that a fresh outline consent would give more time for a detailed scheme to be drawn up and to re-present plans from those initially conceived as far back as 2016.

Indicative plans put forward by Banks show 11 buildings of varying size and height, reflecting the landform and the relative heights of adjacent buildings on the west and east boundaries. The project is proposed as a “no-car” scheme.

The main Mount Oswald site, based around the grade two-listed Manor House, was granted consent in 2013 for a mixed-use development, and around 300 homes have since been advanced in a parkland setting, with David Wilson Homes and Bellway both present.

Durham University, keen to see purpose-built student accommodation brought to the city, is supportive.

A submission from Banks to the council said: “We believe there are no better alternative sites in Durham for this development because of constraints such as Green Belt, flood risk and the protection of the World Heritage Site.

“We believe now is the right time to resurrect the scheme to bring forward more carefully designed and managed accommodation for the city’s students. We fully appreciate that there is an important boundary to be established between the family housing and students. We will address these residents’ concerns through design using a landscape buffer as well as the orientation and scale of buildings.

“The permission, if granted, will deliver more bio-diversity net gain in County Durham and public open space contributions on top of the major green infrastructure being created at Mount Oswald. We are determined to make Mount Oswald the best example of development in each of its components.”

Officers recommend approval for the Banks plans, with suggested contributions of £178,000 towards local healthcare, and £613 per bedroom as mitigation for open space – a sum to be finalised at reserved matters stage.

The Banks application number on Durham’s planning portal is DM/20/03238/OUT. The plans will be considered on 2 May.

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