Unite Students will improve and extend Rushford Court, which they have utilised as a PBSA scheme since 2018.
After enhancements have been made, Unite Students plans for it to be established as a college of Durham University.
Planning approval from Durham County Council’s planning committee will further extend the partnership between Unite Students and Durham University and provide greater prospects for the students and local community.
The council’s committee stated that biodiversity and carbon reduction were both above and beyond the required levels, and the proposal reduced the pressure on permanent residents as well as the risk of loss of houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs).
Last month, the Durham County Council also unanimously approved plans to restore the former Victorian hospital on North Road, which contains 348 bedrooms and currently boasts an on-site gym, cinema room and games area.
“It’s great that Durham County Council has recognised the benefits of this plan to upgrade Rushford Court. We’re proud to be working in partnership with Durham University on this project, which we hope will lead to the creation of a university college. We’re pleased to be able to support Durham University in this way and look forward to continuing to work closely together going forward and strengthening our partnership.”Tom Brewerton, Group Development Director, Unite Students
In an extension to the partnership between the two organisations, Rushford Court will initially become the temporary home of the university’s College of St Hild and St Bede. It is intended that it will provide the university with a new 18th college in the long-term.
The PBSA development will be upgraded to provide both student and staff facilities, including college staff offices, welfare, study spaces, and a new building which will house common rooms, study areas and a bar; alongside the pre-existing facilities already on offer at the property.
“We are delighted with the decision made by Durham County Council. It enables the university to continue our fantastic working relationship with Unite Students and create a new college community environment from which our current and future students will feel a number of benefits. This planned development also enables us to continue our planned redevelopment of existing college sites and provide an investment into the life blood of our university, which is our family of colleges.”Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience), Durham University
Unite Students are focussed on showcasing the history behind the building and within Durham, which will be reflected in the overall restoration of Rushford Court.
A new two-storey amenity hub will be built in front of the current building and external alterations will be carried out in 2024 before being handed over for university use.
Restoration and work to the property will begin this summer. Unite Students will continue to manage and operate on-site while construction is carried out.
The exciting enhancement approval for Rushford Court follows the announcement of two new senior hires that Unite Students made earlier in the year.