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Durham University considers future of Leazes Road site
DURHAM University is considering the future of its Leazes Road site, including the College of St Hild and St Bede and the School of Education.
A spokeswoman said the University was involved in a masterplanning exercise for the site, which occupies a large and significant area off the A690 towards Gilesgate.
Talks have begun with Durham County Council and public consultation is expected to follow. But no proposals have yet been revealed.
The announcement came amid complaints about a dilapidated former porter’s cottage.
Residents have called for the University to refurbish and return to use York Cottage, off Gilesgate roundabout.
They say the two-bedroom detached house has been deliberately neglected in preparation for demolition.
Resident Ben Hoare said: “The University has deliberately neglected York Cottage because it wants to demolish it. Its condition is a disgrace.
“We have tried to engage with the University in the hope that we could agree a way forward. We would still like to meet their planners to agree a solution.”
Bill Hay, a former Deputy Mayor of Durham, said the property had been empty for eight-and-a-half years since a porter retired and he and his family moved out.
“It’s a complete and utter disgrace. It’s an awful sight in the middle of Durham.”
In response, a University spokeswoman said: “The University applied for consent to demolish York Cottage in 2008 because it would be uneconomic to repair given the extensive nature of the structural defects.
“This application was not successful, so the property has been included in the scope of a masterplanning exercise for the entire Leazes Road site which the University is undertaking in consultation with Durham County Council.”
She continued: “When our internal consultation exercise has been completed, the University will consult with external stakeholders, including local residents.
“We are committed to ensuring that any development is in keeping with the environment.”
The origins of the College of St Hild and St Bede date back to 1839 and the foundation of The College of the Venerable Bede.
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