February 5, 2013 | Mt Oswald News
Click on link for full version of the Mount Oswald Benefits Infographic Jan 2013
Details of the multi-million pound community benefits package that will follow from the mixed development of the Mount Oswald site in Durham City have been revealed by the local company behind the scheme.
The Banks Group has put forward comprehensive proposals for the site, which encompass executive housing, an education quarter, new formal and informal public open spaces and a range of new community facilities.
As part of the proposals, more than £4.2million has been allocated by Banks to pay for substantial improvements for the local community, and for both residents of and commuters into Durham City.
Around £1.8 million would be spent on improving the Howlands Park and Ride service by extending the route to the Sniperley Park and Ride, introducing additional buses and making additional parking spaces available in the vicinity of the site.
A range of highway improvements, such as new road signage, traffic islands, crossing points and bus stops would also be introduced.
Banks would make a contribution of £2 million for off-site affordable housing in locations that will be decided by Durham County Council, which equates to around 58 new affordable homes being built in the Durham City area.
The company would pay £250,000 to enable the construction of a new community building at Lowes Barns, and would also make a £75,000 contribution towards the provision of additional classrooms at two local schools, St Oswald’s Church of England and Durham St Margaret’s Primary.
Banks has designed the Mount Oswald scheme in support of Durham County Council’s vision of Durham City acting as a driver of economic growth in the county, and if it is approved, it would support approximately 220 local jobs, with around 120 people employed on site during the construction phase of the scheme, and a further 100 jobs across the supply chain.
Up to a further 164 permanent jobs could also be supported by the different elements of the Mount Oswald development when it is complete, with local employment opportunities being created on the site through a new convenience store, University buildings, small offices and the sustainable re-use of the Mount Oswald manor house.
The planning application, which is being supported by The North East Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses and Durham University, and which has been recommended for approval by Durham County Council’s officers, is scheduled to be considered by the Council’s planning committee on Tuesday (5 February).
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, says: “Our vision for Mount Oswald is to create an outstanding, high quality, low density, sustainable new neighbourhood of families and students with a green infrastructure that provides new green links and wildlife habitats and is well connected to public transport.
“A development of this type needs to contribute much more to its location than simply its composite parts, and the Mount Oswald would do this by facilitating a comprehensive range of improvements for the local community that will provide a positive legacy for many decades to come.
“The enhanced Park & Ride scheme will not only have a direct impact on improving the traffic flow around the area, but it would also make getting into and out of the city easier for residents and visitors, which would in turn boost the city’s retail and tourist economy.
“The urgent need for the improved community facilities that the Mount Oswald scheme would make possible has been well understood by local people for a long time, and in the present economic climate, the investment needed to realise many of these goals is only likely to come from a private sector source.
“In addition to all these initiatives, the development would directly and indirectly support hundreds of local jobs at a time when such employment opportunities are very badly needed, and would bolster Durham University’s drive towards maintaining its position as one of the world’s pre-eminent educational institutions.
“The Mount Oswald scheme has so much to offer to both the local area and wider region, and as a long-established Durham-based family business, we hope we will be given the opportunity to take this project forward.”
Anyone who would like more information on the Mount Oswald development proposals can contact the Banks community relations team by calling 0191 378 6100 or www.banksgroup.co.uk/mount-oswald