Public exhibition for new Mount Oswald development plans

September 27, 2011 | Community News

New proposals for the development of the Mount Oswald Golf Club in Durham are set to go on show to the public for the first time at a special exhibition in the city on Monday.

The Meadowfield-based Banks Group recently announced new proposals for the site which will focus primarily on executive housing, but which will also include a significant amount of high-quality student accommodation, which would be located adjacent to Van Mildert College.

Local people will be able to get their first look at the plans between 3pm and 7pm on Monday 3 October at the Lindisfarne Centre in St Aidan’s College on Windmill Hill.

The new student accommodation has been designed to help to establish more balanced communities in Durham city centre by freeing up properties that are currently occupied by student housing for use by families, young professionals and other groups.

The new proposals would also alleviate concerns related to an increase in local traffic levels that had been expressed in some quarters about Banks’ initial development plans, which were withdrawn by the company in 2009.

The exhibition marks is an important part of a detailed public consultation process that is being undertaken by Banks to ensure local residents are fully informed about what is being put forward and have the chance to express their views about it.

Representatives of Banks Property will be on hand at the event to answer any questions visitors have about the scheme and to gather feedback from them which will be used in the development of the Mount Oswald proposal.

Banks will also be looking for ideas from local people about the sorts of community facilities, such as a small retail outlet, health centre or community centre that could be incorporated into the final planning application that will go to the county council for consideration later this year.

The Mount Oswald site is being considered for development as part of the Durham Core Strategy process.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, says: “Ensuring that everyone has the chance to give us their opinions about our plans as they evolve is a central part of Banks’ ‘development with care’ approach, and it is especially crucial for a site as important as Mount Oswald.

“This proposal represents a very significant investment in the regional economy at a time when few other companies are making this level of commitment, and would bring with it a host of employment and community benefits that would provide a tangible boost to the local and regional economies.

“Student accommodation is also clearly a very pressing issue for people in the city, both for those who are studying here and those that live here full-time, and the allowance we have made for this in the our proposals could help to rebalance the make-up of city centre communities whilst providing students with purpose built, high quality accommodation.

“We are already actively engaging with all interested parties across the local community to get their views on what we’re proposing for this important location, and hope as many people as possible will come along and talk to us about their views of our ideas at the exhibition.”

Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Chris Higgins, adds: “We are committed to attracting a greater proportion of our student body to remain in university-owned college accommodation and we’re currently developing an accommodation strategy to ensure that we consider carefully our responsibilities to our students and to the wider community.

“This strategy will consider a number of development options including the Mount Oswald site, where we are working with Banks Property to consider the potential for student accommodation.”

Anyone who is unable to attend the 3 October exhibition, but who would like more information on the new Mount Oswald development proposals can contact the Banks community relations team by calling 0191 378 6100 or emailing mountoswald@banksgroup.co.uk

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