High turnout at public exhibition for new Mount Oswald development plans

October 11, 2011 | Community News

Around 160 people from across Durham attended a public exhibition to find out more about new development proposals for the site of the city’s Mount Oswald Golf Club.

The Meadowfield-based Banks Property recently announced new proposals for the site which encompass executive housing and high-quality student accommodation, and set up an open exhibition at the Lindisfarne Centre in St Aidan’s College to give local people their first look at the outline designs.

Representatives of Banks Property were on hand at the event to answer visitors’ questions, and to gather both feedback on the design and ideas about the sorts of community facilities, such as a small retail outlet, health centre or community centre, that local people might like to see incorporated into the final planning application.

The student accommodation included in the Mount Oswald proposal 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.

Further extensive community engagement work will be carried out by Banks over the coming months, in advance of a planning application being finalised and submitted for planning approval.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, says: “We’re very pleased with the turnout for our exhibition, the degree of engagement we managed to achieve with visitors to the event and the information about both the new scheme and the rationale behind it that we were able to communicate to them on the day.

“We also had some very useful ideas on the types of new community facilities that visitors felt would enhance the area, and we will be factoring these suggestions into the planning work that is continuing around the final scheme design.

“This proposal represents a potential £200 million investment at a time when few other companies in the Durham area are making this level of commitment, and would bring with it a host of economic, social and environmental benefits for the area, from new jobs on the site of the development and new contract opportunities for local businesses through to substantial new funding for local good causes through the scheme’s community benefits fund and a network of new walkways through what would be a carefully-managed and high quality landscape.

“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 our proposals could help to rebalance the make-up of city centre communities whilst providing students with purpose built, high quality accommodation.

“We will continue to actively engage with all interested parties across the local community to get their views on this important proposal over the coming months, and will ensure everyone is kept fully up-to-date as our design process progresses.”

Anyone who was unable to attend the 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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