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Durham University

Accommodation & Estates Developments

New home for Durham University Business School

Status: Planning application submitted to LPA

Work begins: TBC

Work due to be completed: TBC

Cost: £70 million

Partners: DPP, Ryder Architecture, Gardiner and Theobald

Brief: A new Durham University Business School building

Project Sponsor: Stephen Willis

Operational lead: Susan Hart

Estates project manager: Iain Ramage

More information:

Durham University is planning to relocate its triple accredited Top 50 European Business School from Mill Hill Lane, to be at the heart of Durham City on Elvet Waterside. This is part of the Durham University Strategy 2017-2027 to deliver a student experience to rival anywhere in the world. The project is part of the Estates Masterplan and completion would follow delivery of the Infrastructure Project which aims to develop infrastructure to support the safe movement of pedestrians and road users around the University estate.

If this project goes ahead:

  • It will ensure the community and visitors have an enhanced experience and increased accessibility to the riverside. This would include an onsite coffee shop that would be open all year round and open to all. It will also create a public record of site archaeology and heritage.
  • Sustainability will be a main focus of the development and will improve the riverside location whilst complementing the site’s historic features and natural surroundings.
  • It will create a world-class learning experience for students, facilitate the delivery of cutting-edge research and enable the staging of business events and conferences that would further raise the profile of the University, School, City and region around the world. This international profile raising will enhance the School’s competitive position supporting the attraction of diverse high-calibre students, academics and staff, as well as increase business connectivity and collaboration globally.

To view further details of the proposal please use the following links:

Project Overview

The Site - Elvet Waterside

Heritage Benefits of the Proposal

Design: Concept and Building Layout

Design: Facade and Vennel Cottage

Flooding Impact and Mitigation


Within its Surroundings

Development Benefits

If you would like to leave feedback on the proposed development this can be sent via Durham County Council's Planning Portal.

FAQs - Business School

+What is the Elvet Waterside Development?

The Elvet Waterside development is a proposal to build a new home for Durham University Business School in the heart of the city.

+Where is Elvet Waterside?

Elvet Waterside is space behind the historic Old Elvet Street stretching down to the river and to the side of the Durham Marriot Royal County Hotel.

+Why does the Business School want to move?

As part of the Durham University Strategy 2017-2027, Durham University Business School aims to be a Financial Times Top 20 European Business School by 2027. The proposed new building will provide a clear message about Durham’s position as a global leader in business schools and Higher Education.

The proposed development will provide state-of-the-art facilities and will be a key asset in attracting and retaining high calibre academics and students from the UK and overseas.

+How many students will the new Business School building accommodate?

Over the nine years to 2027 student enrolments within the Business School are planned to grow from 3,387 to 4,061. The number of academic staff is planned to grow from 170 to 230 in the same period.

+Will the students use the building all year?

Undergraduate students attend University from the first week in October to the last week of June. Postgraduate students can be with the School for a full year.

+What will happen to the old Business School site?

The development of Elvet Waterside allows the University to meet a wider set of estate objectives, including the development of a consolidated social science hub centred at the Mill Hill Lane and the Al Qasimi buildings, providing much better facilities for departments including the School of Government and International Affairs, Sociology, Sport and Exercise Sciences, and Education, which all currently operating across multiple sites. This relocation will also include new locations for several University Research Institutes and the Social Sciences and Health Faculty Office.

+How much will the project cost?

The construction and development cost of the new building at Elvet Waterside is £71.6 million.

+Who is building the new facilities?

A main contractor has yet to be appointed. A University design team led by Ryder Architects will take the design through to RIBA Design Stage 3 and submit the development proposals to the LPA for approval.

+When will the new facilities be ready?

The new building and restored Vennel Cottage are scheduled to come into use in autumn 2022.

+What are the community benefits of the project?

The development will bring a number of benefits to the local community. Our redevelopment of this dilapidated brownfield site on the river will enhance the community and visitor experience, creating betterment of existing heritage views plus creating new ones. The proposals will also increase accessibility to the site, riverfront and the surrounding area, plus also include a coffee shop open to all.

Measures to address flooding on the site would be put in place which will create betterment and reduction of flooding on neighbouring properties and the highway network through management and mitigation.

The scheme presents opportunities for ecological enhancements through planting and soft landscaping. The addition of a pond will bring a different ecological environment to the river itself with significant benefits to wildlife.

+How will communities access the shared spaces?

The riverside will remain open access and the design will create connections between the river frontage and the City. The new building will reintroduce the walled formal garden plots and combined with the Vennel Cottage and a new plaza area with water feature creates new public spaces for Durham.

+What are the parking arrangements?

The relocation of the Business School to this site will see less cars in the area as there will only be a handful of accessible spaces for blue badge holders on site. All other traffic will be on foot as staff/students are encouraged to use public transport, park-and-ride or park in another university car parks.

The proposed Elvet Waterside development will follow after the propsed Infrastructure Improvements are delivered in 2020. This project includes car parking considerations. For more details please view the Infrastructure Project Page.

+How will I be kept updated on progress?

Updates will be posted on the Elvet Waterside project web page and in Dialogue Signposts for University staff and students alongside other channels.

+I have more questions…

Please visit the Elvet Waterside project web page, which includes details of the project. If you still have questions relating to the project please complete the online comment form.