Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Judicial review threat over Durham student flats plan
RESIDENTS angry at a council’s decision to approve plans to build more than 200 student flats have threatened to pursue a judicial review.
A Durham County Council committee granted developer Connislow planning permission to build 223 student bedrooms in four blocks on the former Fred Henderson garage, on Ainsley Street, Durham City, last December.
The scheme was approved unanimously, despite residents’ concerns over noise and anti-social behaviour and claims the scheme would make the area into a student ghetto.
Now couple Richard and Rachel Coleman have written to the council claiming the decision was unlawful and asking the authority to revoke it, investigate the proposals further and, if Connislow wishes to continue, put it before a new committee.
The husband and wife, who live in the Flass Vale area, wrote to the council on Tuesday, February 26, and warned that if they had not received a “satisfactory response” within 14 days, they intended to bring a claim for a judicial review, which could lead to the planning permission being quashed.
In a 17-page letter, they write that the decision was made in ignorance of material facts, relevant considerations were not properly investigated and key conclusions underpinning the decision took account of irrelevant considerations while failing to take account of relevant considerations.
Today (Monday, March 11), Mr Coleman said he was still awaiting the council’s response and it was inappropriate to comment further.
A council spokeswoman said it had received a letter and was in the process of responding to it.
Connislow did not respond to The Northern Echo’s request for comment.
At December’s meeting, director John Parkinson said Durham had a shortfall of student accommodation, the scheme was sustainable and the firm had gone as far as it could to allay residents’ concerns.
The accommodation would be marketed at mature, international postgraduate students, he added.
However, Durham University had objected to the scheme, raising concerns over its management and lack of communal facilities.
The blocks would be managed by Universal Student Living. Connislow had hoped to start work on site later this year.