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Durham University

Durham University News


University Statement: Sheraton Park

(21 September 2016)

Durham University is in the process of developing a new Estates Strategy as part of its emerging University Strategy*.

As part of this, the University is considering the best use of its student accommodation and how to enable delivery of two key priorities: the move of John Snow and Stephenson Colleges from Queen’s Campus to Durham City, and planned growth in new student numbers in Durham City.

At its meeting on Tuesday 20 September, University Council considered a business case for the proposal to enter into a contract with the owners of the Sheraton Park Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) scheme. This included a summary of consultation undertaken with staff, students and local residents. Students from five colleges presented their views to the meeting, alongside the Durham Students’ Union.

Following considerable and detailed discussion, and mindful that changes in student accommodation should be balanced with the needs of the local community, this proposal was approved.

It has therefore been agreed that the Ustinov College community of postgraduate students will move from its current location on the Howlands site to the Sheraton Park development. The Howlands site will then be shared by Josephine Butler College, which is already located there, and the two Colleges from Queen’s Campus in the first instance. The final location of Stephenson and John Snow Colleges, once the transition period is concluded, will be agreed through consultation with students from those colleges.

Sheraton Park will provide brand new, high quality, managed student accommodation for Ustinov College students. They will continue to benefit from the full college experience, one of the University’s key offerings, including dedicated pastoral support.

Following Council’s decision, negotiations with the PBSA provider will be finalised and a Howlands user group will be established to determine facilities requirements for the site.

The University will also be undertaking further meetings with residents’ associations and other partners and stakeholders. All relevant parties will be kept informed as plans progress.

Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor and Warden, said: “In order to ensure a sustainable future for the University and to compete on a global scale, we need to build on our success and make changes where they are needed, including growing our student numbers in a carefully planned way.

“We are committed to working with staff, students, residents and other partners to ensure we deliver the best possible Strategy, which in turn delivers the best for our city and region.”

Proposed timings

Timings for the college moves are planned as follows:


  • Ustinov College occupies part of Howlands accommodation and all of Sheraton Park
  • Josephine Butler expands its bed numbers at Howlands


  • Ustinov College operates solely from Sheraton Park
  • John Snow and Stephenson move from Queen’s Campus to Durham City to set up on the Howlands site with Josephine Butler


  • The intention is that the Mount Oswald site opens as new college accommodation. Either John Snow or Stephenson leaves Howlands for Mount Oswald. The final location of both colleges will be determined following student consultation.

* Durham University is developing a new University Strategy under the leadership of its Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Professor Stuart Corbridge.

This complex body of work is underpinned by extensive research and consultation, including through Durham’s governing bodies on which there is staff and student representation.

The Strategy will determine the University’s future direction of travel in what is an increasingly challenging and competitive global higher education market.