CITY residents are backing students who are angry over the increasing cost of living in university accommodation.

Durham University students staged a demonstration on the city’s Palace Green on Friday, to protest against an increase in the amount they are being charged to live in college accommodation.

The university recently announced a rise of just under 3.5 per cent, which takes the annual costs of a single en-suite room with catering to £8,189 and a single standard room with catering to £7,672.


The protest followed a City of Durham Parish Council meeting, which was attended by about a dozen students, where a motion was passed opposing the rise.

Councillor Carole Reeves, who put the motion forward, said: “It’s the first time this has happened in my experience that there has been a direct meeting between students and residents where we have agreed on something.

“I think a lot of people in the city write off students as privileged southerners but there are people who aren’t and who struggle to find the money to come to university.”

She added: “Most students seem to feel the fees are bad value for money and they would live in college if it was affordable.

“It’s bad for the students and it’s bad for residents if every house is converted into houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) which seems to be what’s happening at the moment.”

The council will now write to the university opposing the rise, in a letter saying a freeze on accommodation charges is needed to address a “crisis” in housing for local residents and affordability for students.

The Durham Students’ Union started a #RippedOff campaign against increasing living costs in 2017.

Union president George Walker said the protest on Friday was the largest yet.


He added: “It was fantastic to see so many students, staff and local residents united in condemning the rip-off college fees that are pricing so many out of a Durham education.”

A Durham University spokesperson said: “The university is listening to both students and applicants, and this is why it has developed the Durham grant – available to home undergraduates from low-income families.

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

The grant is available to undergraduates who have a household income of less than £25,000 a year.