Appendix D: Households

D2 HOUSEHOLDS

D.9 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.

D.10 The University’s figures show that there were 12,733 students in the academic year 2011/12 and there are now 15,475 in 2016/17. These figures show that 9,123 of this number live outside of Colleges, nearly all in rented accommodation known as Houses in Multiple Occupation.

D.11 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.

D12 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.

D.13 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.

D3 STUDENT ACCOMMODATION

D.14 The base-line figures for the numbers of University of Durham students – undergraduates and postgraduates, full-time and part-time – are for 2016/17 (in Table D1):

Table D1: Accommodation location and student numbers

Accommodation
location

Home

Rented

College

Other

Total

Durham Campus

Undergraduate

246

5,680

4,755

470

11,151

Postgraduate/distance

1,229

1,495

1,597

3

4,324

Total

1,475

7,175

6,352

473

15,475

Stockton Campus

Undergraduate

256

1,049

967

63

2,335

Postgraduate/distance

16

48

52

1

117

Total

272

1,097

1,019

64

2,452

Both Campuses

Undergraduate

502

6,729

5,722

533

13,486

Postgraduate/distance

1,245

1,543

1,649

4

4,441

Total

1,747

8,272

7,371

537

17,927*

*Note that 417 students in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health have now transferred to Newcastle University, leaving the total for the University of Durham as 17,510
Source: Durham University, Student Registry, Online Statistics, College Statistics, Accommodation (numbers surveyed in December 2016: Table 1.9 Term time accommodation)

 

D.15 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 from 2018/19, joining the 15,500 students already in the City, 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 by 2026/27. We calculate that this is an approximately 40% increase.

D.16 Further, the University aims to increase the proportion of students living in University accommodation from 42% now to between 50% and 55% in 2026/27. On that basis, there would need to be an increase in University accommodation from the present (2016/17) level of 6,352 beds in Durham to up to 11,825 beds in 2026/27 i.e. about +5,500 beds.

D.17 The University has planning permission for a new 1,000-bed College at Mount Oswald. It will therefore need to identify sites for up to a further 4,000 beds somewhere in Durham City.

D.18 There were, as of the base date of 2016/17, already built, under construction, approved or proposed PBSAs (purpose built student accommodation) in the wider Durham City 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 considering entering into partnership arrangements such that at least some PBSAs could be classified as College-affiliated and thereby ‘living-in’. In any case, some of the approved or proposed PBSAs are in unsatisfactory locations, and some of the existing PBSAs are not 100% occupied.

D.19 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 9,123 live out, so the University’s plans would imply that up to 1,600 or so 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, an important issue on what students themselves prefer by way of accommodation. First year students must ‘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 extra students prefer HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) then (at about 5 students per HMO) about 640 existing family houses will be lost, causing the resident population to decline by about 1,400 people.

D4 OLDER PEOPLE ACCOMMODATION

D.20 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. The population aged 80 and over is projected by the County Council to increase by 89% (Durham County Council (2016c) ‘Issues and Options’ document adopts the ONS 2012-based population projections for County Durham as being the latest official projections available at the time the document was prepared (February 2016)).

D.21 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.

D5 ACCOMMODATION FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, SINGLETONS, COUPLES STARTING OUT

D.22 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.

D.23 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 Appendix D: Population and Appendix D: Housing sites

Next section: Appendix D: Housing sites

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