Policy D2 – 2019 version

Policy D2: Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA)

The following sites are allocated for Purpose Built Student Accommodation:

PBSA1: Leazes Road

retain trees and site’s leafy character

PBSA2: Howlands -Josephine Butler and Ustinov

respect the strong radial pattern of the existing buildings

PBSA3: James Barber House

retain the existing trees around the periphery of the site

PBSA4: Elvet Hill car park

retain the existing trees

PBSA5: Land adjacent to St Mary’s College

continue the existing built form of the development on the site

PBSA6: Mill Hill Lane and St Aidan’s College

retain the existing tree belt to the east of the site; maintain a central belt of trees through the site; retain the most significant tree groups to the west of the site; and preserve the non-designated heritage asset of St Aidan’s College and its grounds

In order to promote the creation of sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities and maintain an appropriate housing mix, any development proposal for new Purpose Built Student Accommodation, extensions to existing Purpose Built Student Accommodation, or conversions of existing buildings to Purpose Built Student Accommodation other than the above six allocations, will be required to demonstrate:

  1. that there is a need for additional student accommodation of this type in this location; and
  2. consultation with the relevant education provider pursuant to the identified need; and
  3. it would not result in a significant negative impact on retail, employment, leisure, tourism and housing use and existing residential amenity; and
  4. it would support the Council’s regeneration objectives; and
  5. not more than 10% of the total number of residential units within 100 metres of the application site are already in use as HMOs or student accommodation exempt from council tax charges.

All proposals for the development of Purpose Built Student Accommodation will not be permitted unless:

  1. the development is readily accessible to an existing Durham University or Higher or Further Education College academic site, or hospital and research site; and
  2. the design and layout of the student accommodation and siting of individual uses within the overall development are appropriate to its location in relation to adjacent neighbouring uses; and
  3. the design meets the appropriate criteria for student living accommodation as set out in the Building Regulations; and
  4. the internal design, layout and standard of accommodation and facilities is of appropriate standard; and
  5. the activities of the occupants of the development will not have an unacceptable impact upon the amenity of surrounding residents in itself or when considered alongside existing and approved student housing provision. Prior to occupation a management plan or draft outline management plan appropriate to the scale of the development shall be provided and approved by Durham County Council; and
  6. the quantity of cycle and car parking provided is in line with the Council’s Parking and Accessibility Guidelines and Policies T3 and T4 of this Plan; and
    the applicant has shown that the security of the building and its occupants has been considered along with that of other local residents and legitimate users.

In order to provide affordable accommodation within Purpose Built Student Accommodation developments, 20% of the total units of accommodation shall normally be required to meet the prevailing definition of affordable.

Where appropriate, development proposals in accordance with the above requirements should contribute to the re-use of listed buildings, heritage assets and other buildings with a particular heritage value. Development will be expected to sustain the significance of heritage assets and seek opportunities to better reveal it.

Purpose Built Student Accommodation comprising only self-contained flats, or with blocks/sections of self-contained flats that can be separated from student occupants, should be flexibly designed to enable re-purposing for other types of occupants, such as young couples starting out, or professional people. Such repurposing must include appropriate arrangements for car parking, refuse storage and collection, and management of the flats.

Proposals Map 8: Purpose Built Student Accommodation Sites

Next section: Policy D3: Student Accommodation in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

One Response to Policy D2 – 2019 version

  1. Lucy Smout Szablewska says:

    I welcome Policy D3 and in particular section (e) as under the current Interim Policy on Student Accommodation PBSAs are not counted when assessments are made about the percentage of student accommodation/HMOs in a postcode area/within 100 metres of a new PBSA development or the conversion of a C3 home to a C4 HMO.

    I question the strength of the word ‘appropriate’ in (g), (h) and (i), as recently-built student accommodation, such as the new accommodation blocks at Van Mildert College, lacks the careful and creative design of earlier accommodation blocks, such as the hexagonal style blocks surrounded by trees in Trevelyan College. The new blocks at Van Mildert may be ‘appropriate’, but are higher and more densely packed in than earlier equivalents, and this trend is mirrored across various new PBSA developments in Durham. I am concerned that ‘appropriate’ is an overly elastic term that will be used to justify any overly tall and overly jam-packed off-the-shelf building, be it built by Durham University or by private PBSA developers.

    Regarding (j) I am concerned that ‘PBSA Management Plan’ sounds good on paper but is less effective in practice, as neither Durham University not Durham County Council/Durham Parish Council have much control over the operations of private PBSA businesses, and they also appear (from anecdotal evidence and inspection of staff lists on their websites) to have very few enforcement officers.

    I welcome the references to ‘affordable’ and ‘re-purposing’ in the bottom three paragraphs, and live in hope that they will not become elastic words stretched to mean something different from the original intention.