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The Durham Project

Frequently asked questions

Project developments

+I noticed building work taking place along Stockton Road (August 2009). What is this for?

£1.4 million of work is being undertaken on the University Science Site during the Summer Vacation period 2009. This includes modifications to the existing interior of the University Library, the demolition of vacant and unsightly houses which are in a poor state of repair, and modifications to mains drainage. This work needs to be undertaken irrespective of the final design of any building work which might be approved for the site. The government agreed to advance funding to the University for these works in order to maintain local jobs during the economic downturn.

+Is the Durham Project a chance for the University to expand?

The Durham Project is not an expansion of the University. It involves bringing together activities in a more coherent fashion and into fit-for-purpose buildings. At the same time, it will allow the freeing up of historic buildings in the City Centre for public benefit.

+What kind of public consultation has taken place?

The University has undertaken extensive consultative processes with the local community, professional bodies, and members of staff. Please see the Gateway consultation page for more details.

+What's going to happen to Old Shire Hall?

The University sold Old Shire Hall and 14 and 15 Old Elvet to regional development agency, One North East, in 2008. The University is currently leasing back the buildings until the Gateway development is complete. At which point, ONE will sell the properties to a suitable organisation, ensuring future use maintains the character of the area and benefits the local economy. One possible use for Old Shire Hall is as a boutique hotel.

+Why have trees been removed on Stockton Road?

In August 2009, 21 trees were removed from the University's Science Site. The removal and pruning of trees is part of essential work to replace and divert mains drainage on the science site.
None of the trees were subject to a tree preservation order (TPO) and were removed following consultation with Durham County Planning Department. A survey prior to commencement of the work confirmed that many of the trees were of poor quality or diseased. As part of the University's ongoing commitment to the greening of its estate, the planting of quality trees and landscaping works on the Science Site will ensure that any trees removed as part of this or any future works will be replaced.

+Why was Stockton Road chosen for the Gateway development?

Before selecting this site for the proposed build, the University looked at every alternative site. The Stockton Road site was by far the best location, given its current disjointed use, its location outside the conservation zone and greenbelt, and its current unattractive appearance with decrepit vacant buildings, poor tree planting and view of an unattractive Chemistry block. Stockton Road and the entire Science Site will be markedly improved by any well-planned new development.