STUDENTS who are paying about £10,000 a year to living in “luxury” accommodation have spoken out about living in the building site.

About 250 Durham University students moved into the new accommodation at the Riverwalk, formerly The Gates shopping centre, at the end of September.

Building work is still being carried out by Robert McAlpine to complete the rest of the £30m redevelopment of the centre, which will include a six-screen Odeon cinema, 23 refurbished shops and a range of restaurants.

One third year student said: “It’s still a building site. Hammering has been starting at about 6am and carries on until late at night.

“We had no hot water or heating for the first two weeks.


“It’s some of the most expensive accommodation. I’m paying about £10,000 a year. It is really expensive for the quality.

“Everyone I have spoken to here is angry about it.”

Prices for accommodation start at £145 per week and rise to £215 a week, a total of £10,965 for the 51-week let.

A spokesman for Fresh Student Living, which is running the accommodation said students had been offered temporary alternative hotel accommodation.

He added: “Like any new building there have been some teething issues. Fresh Student Living and Robert McAlpine are working through those issues.

“Fresh Student Living has apologised to students for the teething issues and they have offered a rebate on rent for the first two weeks.”


Meanwhile students are also angry about the increasing cost of Durham University’s college accommodation, which is set to rise by 3.5 per cent next year, taking the cost of a single en-suite room with catering to £8,189.

A single standard room, with catering, will be £7,672 and a self-catered single room will be £5,370.

Members of the Durham Students’ Union are hoping to attend a City of Durham Parish Council Meeting on October 25 to try and gain support for a motion condemning the rise.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge, said the increase reflected rising staff, utility and building costs.

He added that a bursary scheme was available to students facing financial pressures, which is available to those with a household income of less than £25,000 a year.

He said: “We are constantly seeking to expand these forms of support, as much as possible.”

DSU president George Walker said he was “deeply frustrated” by the increase.