A CONSERVATION group fears that Durham is being overwhelmed by plans for student accommodation and has called on councillors to "get a grip".

A planning application for 109 beds at the site of a dilapidated former pub will be recommended for approval by Durham County Council planners on Tuesday (July 22), the latest in a string of student-related developments.

The City of Durham Trust is objecting to the scheme and is concerned that there are too many such developments to cater for the current and future numbers of students.

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The trust’s chairman Roger Cornwell said that there should be an overall policy to guide student developments.

“The latest figures appear to be that since 2012, 335 apartments will be up and running by the start of next term, 966 have full planning permission and there are 1,000 with outline permission, including the Mount Oswald university college," he said.

“There must be 1,000 further back in the pipeline, including this one,

“Durham will be over-run with these and the council needs to get a grip. Instead of dealing with each one individually it needs to take a strategic view, and it is failing to do that.”

He said there would be more than enough accommodation for the planned 1,800 increase in student numbers over the next few years.

The Durham Light Infantryman pub, Sunderland Road, Gilesgate, Durham, has been earmarked by the CCL Group as the site for five, two and three-storey accommodation blocks along with 18 car parking spaces and and a 22-space bicycle shed.

The Liberal Democrat group leader on the council, Cllr Nigel Martin, himself a former university college principal, is also worried about the impact of so much student housing.

He has written on his website: “The emerging policy vacuum on student accommodation in the city is, in my opinion, in grave danger of leading to a major housing crisis in the city in the next few years unless planners start taking the issue seriously.

“We are seeing a raft of planning applications coming in from private developers to build new residences, and if they are given the go-ahead there will be many more additional spaces than the planned expansion by the university up to 2020.”

On Tuesday (July 22) the central and east area planning committee will be told that the DLI development is considered acceptable and should be approved subject to the developer paying money to the council for open space and art in the area.