Large residences for students

The following tables set out the position as at August 2023 regarding large student residences since 2012. This is a constantly changing area and this table needs to be updated regularly.

Note that there are two Purpose-Built Student Accommodation properties (PBSAs) in existence prior to 2012: Keenan House (132 beds) and Brackenbury House (48 beds) at the University Hospital of North Durham.

For the purposes of this note the following definitions have been adopted:

  • “Large” means 30 or more bed-spaces
  • “Purpose-built” means new constructions and conversions of existing large buildings
  • “Up-and-running” means accepting tenancies for occupation
  • “In the pipeline” means (a) under construction at the time of writing or (b) having planning permission but not yet started at the time of writing.

The summary position is set out below, followed by a detailed list of each property. (Note that ‘apartments’ have been counted as 1 bed where not specified but these may in fact have 2 or even more beds).

Up and running in the Academic Year 2023-2024: 4,628 beds
In the pipeline:
  • under construction, expected to open for 2023-2024:     0 beds
  • with planning permission and under construction:        49 beds
  • with planning permission but not started:                      978 beds
  • awaiting renewal of planning permission                            0 beds
Total in the pipeline


1,027 beds


Allocated in County Durham Plan Policy 16.2 as PBSA sites and subsequently amended by the decision to retain the existing accommodation at James Barber House

2,000 to 3,000 beds
GRAND TOTAL 7,600 to 8,660 beds
Name / location Status: Up and running as at 14 August 2023
St Margaret’s Flats
Crossgate Lofts
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. Managed by Unite Students. 112 apartments
City Block, Ainsley Street Opened October 2014. 223 beds
Ward Court Opened autumn 2015. 36 beds
Chapel Heights Opened September 2016. 198 beds
St Giles Studios,110 Gilesgate Opened September 2016. 109 beds
New Kepier Court Opened September 2017. 214 rooms
Neville House / Sheraton House Ustinov College relocated to here. Opened 2017. 418 beds
Ernest Place, Renny’s Lane, Dragonville
NB not in the City of Durham Parish
Opened 2017 225 beds
Duresme Court, Nevilles Cross Opened Autumn 2018. 277 room student “eco village”
Dunholm House, The Riverwalk Opened Autumn 2018. 253 beds
Rushford Court (Unite)
but to be adopted by the University
Opened Autumn 2018. 358 beds
Houghall Court (Unite) Opened September 2018. 222 beds
Student Castle, Lower Claypath Opened September 2019. 473 beds
John Snow College, Mount Oswald Relocation from Stockton in 2018, first in Rushford Court and then in the new building opened in September 2020. 492 beds
South College, Mount Oswald Opened in September 2020. 496 beds
The Three Tuns, New Elvet Former hotel, planning application to increase the capacity from 50 to 168 beds approved June 2019. Now open. 168 beds
Total up and running as at 14 August 2023
4,628 beds
Name / location Status: In the pipeline (a) under construction expected to open for the Academic year 2023/24 Numbers
Former Marks & Spencer, Silver Street (DM/20/03760/FPA) Although approved to convert and extend to form 58 bed spaces, now there is an approval for a STACK venue. 0 beds
The Printworks (formerly William Robson House) (DM/22/00961/FPA) The approved planning application is for the conversion of parts of the ground, first and second floors of William Robson House to create 28 Sui Generis student bed-spaces. There are 21 residential C3 bed-spaces previously approved, making a total of 49 bed-spaces at William Robson House. These are under now under construction. 49 beds
Total in the pipeline (a) under construction, expected to open for the Academic Year 2023/24
49 beds
Name / location Status: In the pipeline (b) with planning permission but not yet started Numbers
Apollo Bingo Hall, Sherburn Road (DM/21/01611/FPA)
NB not in the City of Durham Parish
Demolish and then construct 128 bed PBSA. Approved at Committee 12 April 2022.
Now purchased by PMI Developments and Peveril Securities who say that construction work will start in early 2024 with the aim of opening in time for the 2025/26 academic year,
128 beds
Mount Oswald (Banks) Outline planning application DM/16/04067/OUT approved in January 2018 for land adjacent to the University’s site. Renewal application DM/20/03238/OUT approved in July 2023; work not started. 850 beds
Total in the pipeline (b) with planning permission but not yet started 978 beds
Name / location Status: County Durham Plan allocations Numbers
University Masterplan Six sites in County Plan Policy 16.2:
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
These ranges of capacity
are from the University’s
response to the EiP
Inspector’s SQ 19
and amount to between 2,100 and 3,200 additional beds. With the James Barber decision, the range is now between 2,000 and 3,000 beds
Total County Durham Plan allocations as amended by the James Barber decision Between 2,000 and 3,000 additional beds.

Note: in Back Silver Street a development of 13 flats and 5 studio apartments offering 56 beds, to be managed by Q Student, was approved on 16 November 2016 but construction has not started although some ground clearance is evident. This may be regarded as sufficient to deem the application as having started being implemented, or it may not be so regarded and the permission would thereby have lapsed in November 2019.


4 responses to “Large residences for students”

  1. John Ashby says:

    This information demonstrates the eruption of private Purpose-Built Student Accommodation buildings (PBSAs) that has accompanied the significant expansion of Durham University in recent years. At the same time more and more applications are made to convert family homes into Houses in Multiple Occupation. An information sheet on the numbers and distributions of HMOs will be useful.

  2. This is more complicated than most people (not you, I’m sure) might think. I am planning a further page to sit alongside this one. Watch this space!

  3. Table now updated to show the position as at July 2023

  4. Updated to correct number of bed spaces at Rushford Count, and to note that Apollo Bingo has been purchased and a completion date given. (August 14/15 2023)

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *