THE vice-chancellor of Durham University is expected to come under fire at a Question Time-style debate aimed at discussing the future of the institution.

Durham University has faced some criticism over its 10 year plan to increase student numbers to 21,500 by 2027, with residents calling for a halt to the proposals.

Now, members of the public will be able to put their concerns to Professor Stuart Corbridge during a question and answer session on Thursday, June 21.

Prof Corbridge, who has been in charge of administration of the university for 22 months, said: “This is another opportunity for the university and the city residents to have a constructive dialogue about the growth of this fantastic establishment.

“We know there are concerns, but this is an exciting time for the university and what we want is an ambitious university for an ambitious city.”

The consultation event will be chaired by Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Smith and is being held in The Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre at the Calman Learning Centre, Stockton Road, Durham, from 5.30pm to 8pm.

The event is part of the university’s commitment to work with residents, businesses, staff, students and other partners to ensure there is a positive environment for all who live, work and study in the city.

A first community engagement event at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Durham City, in April, was attended by about 250 people.

Subsequently, the university published a summary of feedback as a basis for further discussion. Linked to this work, a new community engagement task force met for the first time this week and the university’s first community liaison officer has started work.

Prof Corbridge said: “Although we have drawn up a masterplan, there is still a lot to do, including submitting planning applications, but we want to ensure that the public knows what the plans are and that we are transparent about what we want to do. A lot of people are anxious, but this is a time for growth and that growth includes more staff, more students and some construction.

“To be a global leader, we need to expand some of our colleges and be ambitious, but sensitive to the city and its residents.” A number of complaints directed at the university focus on the behaviour of students and there are plans to create a code of conduct.

What do you think of what the Durham University vice chancellor had to say?

What do you think of what the Durham University vice chancellor had to say?

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