Durham's County Hospital could house 440 students under £17m scheme

The former County Hospital, Durham

The former County Hospital, Durham

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Durham)

MULTI-million pound proposals to transform a former mental hospital into digs for 440 students have been filed to planners.

A consortium first announced its intentions for the former County Hospital, off North Road, Durham City, last summer.

Now a formal planning application has been lodged with Durham County Council, seeking consent for accommodation for 440 university students, mostly post-graduates.

The 1850s-built main hospital building would be retained and converted into 47 studios, while a 1930s extension would be demolished.

A new block in what is currently an internal courtyard would include 26 studios.

But the major new development would be seven-level structure with 367 bedrooms and a student hub.

The project, backed by Peveril Securities, Sladen Estates and Helios Properties, would cost around £17m, take 18 months to complete and create an estimated 177 full-time equivalent jobs.

In a supporting planning statement, London-based agents Savills say the scheme would tackle a shortfall in student accommodation identified by Durham University, remove “unsympathetic additions” to the original Victorian building and replace them with a “well-designed and co-ordinated extension”.

Close to Durham’s railway and bus stations, the development would be accessible and so there would be “limited on-site vehicle parking”, they say, plus storage space for bicycles.

The document says there are no listed buildings involved, although the site is within the Durham conservation area.

Councillors will have the final word on whether planning permission is granted, as it has been ruled that the application must go before a committee.

That is expected to happen in the next few months.

Friends of Flass Vale have called on the council to take an overall view of the area to prevent the nature reserve being undermined by piecemeal development.

Project advisors Signet Planning previously said they were “very mindful” of the heritage and landscape of the site.

Built by donations and public subscription in 1853, the County Hospital housed inpatient services for the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust until January 2010, when it was replaced by the purpose-built £17.9m Lanchester Road Hospital, on the outskirts of the city.

More information can be found via the online planning portal at durham.gov.uk, using the reference CE/13/01696/FPA.

Members of the public have until Wednesday, February 5, to make comments.

Comments (9)

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4:45pm Thu 16 Jan 14

David Lacey says...

Sounds like a great idea.
Sounds like a great idea. David Lacey
  • Score: 2

6:21pm Thu 16 Jan 14

MagicAlf says...

Every piece of land is being used to build student digs, every building is being converted into student digs and already 90% of houses within a mile of the City Centre are let to students. Durham is becoming a student ghetto.
Every piece of land is being used to build student digs, every building is being converted into student digs and already 90% of houses within a mile of the City Centre are let to students. Durham is becoming a student ghetto. MagicAlf
  • Score: 0

8:07pm Thu 16 Jan 14

sineater says...

No Durham is a university city,and with the university come students and staff who bring in welcome finance into the city. Look at other similar places in the area and see how they are suffering without the money the uni brings into Durham.
No Durham is a university city,and with the university come students and staff who bring in welcome finance into the city. Look at other similar places in the area and see how they are suffering without the money the uni brings into Durham. sineater
  • Score: 1

7:13am Fri 17 Jan 14

George19 says...

In a supporting planning statement, London-based agents Savills say the scheme would tackle a shortfall in student accommodation identified by Durham University, remove “unsympathetic additions” to the original Victorian building and replace them with a “well-designed and co-ordinated extension”. "First bit of common sense in a long time keep the students in the city and let the BUY TO LET BRIGADE leave houses for young families to buy, although it is a good idea common sense does not always prevail with our city planners.
In a supporting planning statement, London-based agents Savills say the scheme would tackle a shortfall in student accommodation identified by Durham University, remove “unsympathetic additions” to the original Victorian building and replace them with a “well-designed and co-ordinated extension”. "First bit of common sense in a long time keep the students in the city and let the BUY TO LET BRIGADE leave houses for young families to buy, although it is a good idea common sense does not always prevail with our city planners. George19
  • Score: 4

10:27am Fri 17 Jan 14

David Lacey says...

Well said Loopy. Durham is a University City through and through. As for the statement that 90% of housing within a mile of the City centre is a student let. That is rubbish.
Well said Loopy. Durham is a University City through and through. As for the statement that 90% of housing within a mile of the City centre is a student let. That is rubbish. David Lacey
  • Score: -1

1:26pm Fri 17 Jan 14

sineater says...

With this development there is no guarantee, but hopefully some of the housing nearby will get families back in them,and the students move to this new development .
With this development there is no guarantee, but hopefully some of the housing nearby will get families back in them,and the students move to this new development . sineater
  • Score: 1

6:27pm Fri 17 Jan 14

MagicAlf says...

sineater wrote:
No Durham is a university city,and with the university come students and staff who bring in welcome finance into the city. Look at other similar places in the area and see how they are suffering without the money the uni brings into Durham.
The university is a benefit to Durham, but there is far more to Durham than just the university, sadly many people like yourself fail to see this. The biggest benefit the university brings is to the plague of millionaire landlords who care not one bit about the city or the slum-like appearance of their properties as long as the money keeps rolling in.
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: No Durham is a university city,and with the university come students and staff who bring in welcome finance into the city. Look at other similar places in the area and see how they are suffering without the money the uni brings into Durham.[/p][/quote]The university is a benefit to Durham, but there is far more to Durham than just the university, sadly many people like yourself fail to see this. The biggest benefit the university brings is to the plague of millionaire landlords who care not one bit about the city or the slum-like appearance of their properties as long as the money keeps rolling in. MagicAlf
  • Score: 2

9:09pm Fri 17 Jan 14

sineater says...

The streets near this new development don't look slum like to me,and take away the university and what would you have a small market town with a small market and nothing else.
The streets near this new development don't look slum like to me,and take away the university and what would you have a small market town with a small market and nothing else. sineater
  • Score: 0

10:09pm Fri 17 Jan 14

MagicAlf says...

sineater wrote:
The streets near this new development don't look slum like to me,and take away the university and what would you have a small market town with a small market and nothing else.
Believe it or not, Durham existed for many centuries prior to the university being there. It was a cathedral city, not a university city.

In my view, the growth of the university in the past 20 years has not been particularly beneficial to Durham. Where we once had families living in the City Centre, we now have streets and streets of soulless student lets. We also have a situation where normal planning rules go out of the window where the university, I.e the ridiculous eyesore on Stockton Road.

I fail to see the social or economic benefit of this recent growth. Of course Tesco and the landlords may disagree with me because that seems to be where the money goes.
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: The streets near this new development don't look slum like to me,and take away the university and what would you have a small market town with a small market and nothing else.[/p][/quote]Believe it or not, Durham existed for many centuries prior to the university being there. It was a cathedral city, not a university city. In my view, the growth of the university in the past 20 years has not been particularly beneficial to Durham. Where we once had families living in the City Centre, we now have streets and streets of soulless student lets. We also have a situation where normal planning rules go out of the window where the university, I.e the ridiculous eyesore on Stockton Road. I fail to see the social or economic benefit of this recent growth. Of course Tesco and the landlords may disagree with me because that seems to be where the money goes. MagicAlf
  • Score: 2

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