Households

C.11 At the time of the 2011 Census there were 20,616 people in 5,410 households in Our Neighbourhood, representing a crude overall household size in 2011 of 3.811. This displays the severely distorting effects of student households. The number of non-student households is estimated on the basis of the County average household size to be about 4,200.

C.12 The University’s figures show that there were 12,733 students in the academic year 2011/12 and there are now 16,170 in 2017/18. These figures show that 9,318 of this number live outside of Colleges, nearly all in rented accommodation known as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

C.13 The area with the highest concentration of students (87%) is 030G – the Hill colleges and Houghall. Here there are 4,494 persons comprising 3,924 students and 570 long-term residents.

C.14 Owner-occupation is 53% (as compared with 66% for County Durham as a whole); 8% is social housing (20% in County Durham); and private rental is 36% whereas for County Durham it is just 12%. These comparisons indicate that housing tenure in Our Neighbourhood is distinctly shaped by student rentals.

C.15 If we aspire to a stable long-term population in Our Neighbourhood of 9,700 right through our Neighbourhood Plan period then, at national rates of household size decline, there would be about 4,400 households in 2033. This calculated increase of about 200 households therefore requires at least 200 more dwellings over the period in order for the resident population of Our Neighbourhood to be able to stay at 9,700.

STUDENT ACCOMMODATION

C.16 The base-line figures for the numbers of University of Durham students – undergraduates and postgraduates, full-time and part-time – are for 2017/18:

Table C6: Accommodation location and student numbers 2017/18

Accommodation
location

Home

Rented

College

Other

Total

Durham Campus

Undergraduate

232

5,991

5,267

422

11,912

Postgraduate/distance

1,143

1,530

1,585

0

4,258

Total

1,375

7,521

6,852

422

16,710

Stockton Campus

Undergraduate

132

928

615

81

1,756

Postgraduate/distance

12

14

61

0

87

Total

144

942

676

81

1,843

Both Campuses

Undergraduate

364

6,919

5,882

503

13,668

Postgraduate/distance

1,155

1,544

1,646

0

4,345

Total

1,519

8,463

7,528

503

18,013*

*Note that 417 students in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health transferred from the Stockton campus to Newcastle University at the end of the 2016/17 academic year, and the Stockton campus closed at the end of the 2017/18 academic year with all remaining students transferring to Durham.

Source: Durham University, Student Registry, Online Statistics, College Statistics, Accommodation (numbers surveyed in December 2017: Table 1.9 Term time accommodation)

C.17 Durham University (2016, 2017a) has published its Strategy and Estate Masterplan for the development of the University over the decade 2016/17 to 2026/27. The key points are to base the majority of the 2,500 students from the Stockton Queen’s Campus in Durham City, joining the 15,500 students already in the City in 2016/17, and to increase the student population to 21,500 by 2027. The Masterplan states that the University will have an additional 4,000 students, maximum, by 2026/27. It follows that the number to be accommodated in Durham City is planned to increase by about 6,000 between 2016/17 and 2026/27. We calculate that this is an approximately 40% increase.

C.18 Further, the University aims to increase the proportion of students living in University accommodation from 42% now in Durham City to between 50% and 55% in 2026/27. On that basis, there would need to be an increase in University accommodation from the present (2017/18) level of 6,852 beds in Durham to up to 11,825 beds in 2026/27 i.e. about +5,000 beds.

C.19 The University has planning permission for a new 1,000-bed College at Mount Oswald. It is therefore necessary to identify sites for up to a further 4,000 beds somewhere in Durham City.

C.20 There were, as of the base date of 2017/18, under construction, approved or proposed PBSAs (purpose built student accommodation) in Our Neighbourhood for over 5,000 extra bed-spaces (Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum, Large student residences). Under current interpretations these do not count as ‘living-in’ University accommodation and thereby fail to contribute to the University’s aim of up to 55% living-in. However, the University is entering into partnership arrangements such that at least some PBSAs could be classified as College-affiliated and thereby ‘living-in’. It must be noted that some of the approved or proposed PBSAs are unsatisfactory in design and/or location, and some of the existing PBSAs are not 100% occupied. It is therefore to be hoped that at least some of the six additional PBSA sites (See Policy D2) proposed by the University are approved, built and successful.

Table C7: Purpose built student accommodation: construction status

PBSAs with planning permission as at the base date of June 2018

Duresme House, previously Berendsen Laundry

Opened Autumn 2018

277 room student ‘eco village’

Dunholm House, The Riverwalk

Opened Autumn 2018

253 beds

Rushford Court (formerly County Hospital)

Opened Autumn 2018

363 beds

Houghall Court, East Durham College’s Houghall campus

Opened Autumn 2018, managed by Unite Students

222 beds

Student Castle, Lower Claypath

Construction progressing, opening Autumn 2019

473 beds

Mount Oswald (Banks)

Outline planning application approved in January 2018 for land adjacent to the University’s site

850 beds

Back Silver Street

13 flats and 5 studio apartments, to be managed by Q Student, approved 16 November 2016 but construction has not started

56 beds

Former Post Office, Silver Street

7 single-bed apartments in Silver Street and 11 in Fowlers Yard; opening September 2019

18 beds

The Three Tuns, New Elvet

Former hotel, purchased by the University and subsequently sold on. Planning permission granted, construction not yet commenced

168 beds

Total

2,680 beds

C.21 The University’s aspiration for between 50% and 55% of its students to ‘live in’ means that up to 50% would ‘live out’. In 2026/27 this would amount to 10,750 students ‘living out’. At present a total of 9,318 live out, so the University’s plans would imply that up to 1,600 or so some 1,430 additional bed spaces outside of University and University-affiliated accommodation will be needed. These may be provided in non-affiliated PBSAs but far more likely is that most would be in yet more homes being converted to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). There is, however in addition, an important issue on what students themselves prefer by way of accommodation. First year students are encouraged to ‘live in’. Thereafter, they can choose and the indications from the Geography Department survey (Durham University, Geography Department, 2015) of students’ accommodation preferences are that most prefer to ‘live-out’. If say 50% of the 6,400 5,330 extra students prefer HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) then (at about 5 students per HMO) about 640 530 existing family houses will be lost, causing the resident population to decline by about 1,400 1,000 people.

OLDER PEOPLE ACCOMMODATION

C.22 Within the long-term resident population in Census year 2011 of 9,700 11% were aged 75 or over as opposed to 8% in the County as a whole. Households with people aged 75 and over are projected to increase by 82% from 2014 to 2039 (Office for National Statistics, 2016a) (with the same percentage in the 2016 household projections (Office for National Statistics, 2018a)).C.23 The implications for residential accommodation are profound:

  • Downsizing, whether voluntary or compulsory (the ‘bedroom tax’), creates a demand for more smaller dwellings of various kinds – for example, bungalows, apartments, and re-occupation of terraced housing. This in turn releases larger properties which, in Durham City, can be family homes.
  • The increase in independent older people is creating a demand for good quality accommodation located conveniently for services.
  • As independence declines, whether through physical or mental decline, more specialised accommodation is required. This can range from merely the presence on-site of a warden through to full nursing support.
  • From Forum consultations with developers it is clear that there is a market opportunity in Durham City for good quality independent living accommodation.

ACCOMMODATION FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, SINGLETONS, COUPLES STARTING OUT

C.24 Although the Forum’s public consultation (Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum, 2015) expressed a particular need for accommodation for these groups, there is a lack of evidence to substantiate the provision that should be made. It may be that some of the high specification PBSAs (purpose built student accommodation) will prove to be attractive to these groups, especially for those who wish to rent so as to remain mobile.C.25 However, couples starting out are being priced out of the owner-occupier market and this has led to a pre-occupation with providing so-called ‘starter homes’ (defined as costing no more than 80% of prevailing local prices). In Durham City subsidised prices can only be achieved by either setting a percentage requirement within planning policies or by the use of land currently held in the public sector. Both remedies are used nationally.

See also Population and Housing sites

Next section: Housing sites

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