A UNIVERSITY has appointed its first community liaison officer in a bid to ease tensions with city residents.

Hannah Shepherd will be working for Durham University to develop relationships though a new community engagement task force.

Tensions between students, Durham University and people living in the city came to the fore at a recent meeting to discuss the planned expansion of the university over the next decade.

Mrs Shepherd, a Durham graduate, said: “I am so pleased to be starting this new role, joining the university at a time when it is really committing to improving relations with the local community.

“My history with Durham City goes back to when I was a student here and now I live, work and am raising my family in the city; so I am deeply invested in making this role work for a place I love and have done from the moment I set foot in it 19 years ago.”

Mrs Shepherd studied English and linguistics and has spent 11 years working in number of local authority neighbourhood and housing roles, most recently as welfare support team manager for South Tyneside Homes.

Jane Robinson, chief operating officer, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Hannah to the university. She will play an important part in maintaining and developing relationships between the university, our local communities and partners.We are committed to working with our local communities to ensure a positive environment for all who live, work and study in our great city and we hope the appointment of our first community liaison officer will help us achieve that.”