Large Student Residences

The following tables set out the position as at November 2019 regarding large purpose-built student residences (PBSAs) since 2012, all but one of which have been built since 2012. This is a constantly changing area and this table needs to be updated regularly.

The summary position is set out below, followed by a detailed list of each property.
Note that ‘apartments’ have been counted as 1 bed but may in fact have 2 or even more beds.

The summary position is set out below, followed by a detailed list of each property:

Up and running at start of 2019/20 academic year (but there are vacancies)


In the pipeline:

Ranging from 2,074 to 4,174 to 5,274

    Under construction, expected to open 2020/21 or later


    With planning permission but construction not started



    Proposed allocations


2,100 to 3,200

Refused planning permission


Name / location

Status: Up and running as at November 2019


St Margaret’s Flats

Built by St John’s College in 1994, sold on to Empiric Student Property and refurbished in 2017.

109 bedrooms, in 22 flats in 5 blocks.

Elvet Studios (Green Lane)

Opened September 2013

112 apartments

City Block (formerly The Village @ The Viaduct) (Ainsley Street)

Opened October 2014

223 beds

Ward Court (Former Neville’s Cross Club)

Opened autumn 2015.

36 apartments

Chapel Heights (Gilesgate)

Opened September 2016.

198 beds

St Giles Studios (110 Gilesgate)

Opened September 2016.

109 beds

New Kepier Court (Mayorswell Close)

Opened September 2017

214 rooms, a mixture of “cluster apartments and studios”

Ernest Place (Renny’s Lane)

Opened August 2017. NB: This site is outside the NP area.

345 beds

Neville House / Sheraton House (Sheraton Park)

Ustinov College relocated to here. Opened 2017

418 beds

Duresme House (previously Berendsen Laundry) (Nevilles Cross)

Opened Autumn 2018

277 room student “eco village”.

Dunholm House (The Riverwalk)

Opened Autumn 2018

253 beds

Rushford Court (formerly County Hospital) (North Road)

Opened Autumn 2018. Became John Snow College for the Academic Year 2019/20.

363 beds

Houghall Court (East Durham College’s Houghall campus)

Opened September 2018. Managed by Unite Students

222 beds

The Mint Studios (Silver Street)

Opened July 2019

11 beds

Student Castle (Lower Claypath)

Opened September 2019

473 beds (47 of these will be available on an aparthotel basis when not occupied by students.)

Name / location

Status: In the pipeline, expected to open in the Academic year 2020/21 or later


Mount Oswald (Durham University)

A new John Snow College and another new college. Under construction, to be completed in Summer 2020.

1,000 beds

The Three Tuns (New Elvet)

Former hotel, conversion “nearing completion”

168 beds

Name / location

Status: Approved but construction not started


Mount Oswald (Banks)

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

850 beds

Back Silver Street

13 flats and 5 studio apartments, to be managed by Q Student, approved 16 November 2016

56 beds

Name / location

Status: Proposed allocations


Proposed allocations for PBSAs

Six sites in County Plan Policy 16.2 and Neighbourhood Plan Policy D2:

  • Leazes Road 800-1,000 beds
  • Howlands 100-500 beds
  • James Barber House 100-200 beds
  • Elvet Hill car park 400-500 beds
  • St Mary’s College 100-200 beds
  • Mill Hill Lane 600-800 beds


Unspecified but according to the University’s response at Preferred Options stage could amount to between 2,100 and 3,200 additional beds

Name / location

Status: Refused


Kingslodge Hotel, Waddington Street

Planning application DM/14/01418/OUT refused on 13 November 2014; refusal upheld on appeal

60 beds

Off Framwelgate Peth

Planning application DM/15/02129/FPA refused on 16 December 2016

69 beds

Holly Street

Planning application DM/16/02537/FPA refused on 16 December 2016: refusal upheld on appeal

60 beds

5 Responses to Large Student Residences

  1. Pingback: Planned student residences: latest position | Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum

  2. Mike Costello says:

    PBSAs need to be in the right place (especially with a collegiate university) with proper management to protect both students (10% have counselling issues during their stay) and residents.
    Village in the viaduct supposed to have management but local residents struggling to get resolution of anti social behaviour problems.
    This is never the case with university accommodation which always has round the clock management.

  3. Jackie says:

    Janice ought to consider that supporting proposals in a blanket way ought to be avoided, especially when they are featured in some key areas of Durham City which require high quality development to improve degraded and unbalanced communities. Surrounding the City with a ring of blocks of private student halls can only create problems without necessarily solving the problems of areas with saturated levels of student housing. Unless you force students by legislation to occupy private student halls, you cannot guarantee that they will give up house sharing for rooms. There has been no market research to suggest that they will. The halls originally targeted University growth. Now Durham University has decided not to expand, the new halls are targeting student “choice”. The problem is that overseas investors are fuelling the frenzy. They are being misled about local conditions. A collapse of the market is the most likely outcome. Speculators want profits not social experiments. Already 3,000 new beds have been passed, more than enough to test the waters.

  4. Bill Williamson says:

    Good detective work!

    There is feeding frenzy among developers fuelled by the attractiveness of Durham University to students, low interest rates, blockages in the construction of new housing on account of high levels of personal debt and therefore limited opportunities to acquire mortgages and a deficit of imagination in the County Council about what a city might be. There is also fear about the costs of defending appeals if planning applications are turned down.
    Student accommodation on the scale proposed is economically unsustainable and not in the long term interests of the city or, indeed, of the university. It fails to meet the housing needs of the city and will not, as claimed, make HMOs available for families. Students like to live in houses and that section of the market will respond to the new private accommodation by reducing rents.
    We have to press the council to have the courage not to permit it on planning grounds, especially the long-term sustainability of the city.

    • janice says:

      Lowering of student house rents will put less attractive properties out of use, and ultimately onto the market. Then these will be available for family occupation. Meanwhile students will be in more appropriate rooms/ flats and eye-sores around the city improved. The council it self says 4000 new home are needed. These developments will eventually release up to 1000 street houses onto the open single occupancy market, without the detriment to the greenbelt or historicity of the city, with the exception of Mount Oswald, which is approximately green field been golf course land. I would support all the proposals in town except Mount Oswald. If such sort-of-greenfield is to be built on in this more out-of-town area, let it be on actual university site land.