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‘Insular and selfish’: Councillors roast Durham students at County Council meeting

Local councillors claim Durham students don’t care enough about the city


Tension between the 'town' and 'gown' in Durham are becoming even more fractured as has Durham City Council vented its frustration at the city's 17,000 students.

Three out of four Durham residents are students, and the student population is expected to rise to 21,500 by 2027 following the closure of the Stockton campus and subsequent intake of more students in the city.

The council meeting initially began as a debate over converting a residential home into student accommodation but quickly descended into condemnation of Durham's students, whom councillor Jan Blakey said "just do their exams and then go away".

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Ms Blakey then accused students of having no understanding of the area's history and of overcrowding local bus services.

Students were accused of not interacting with Durham locals: "It's like 'campus, back, campus, back', and that's what it's like all the time".

The Durham Miners' Gala is on 14th July, when most students have already left the city for the summer. As such, it was said "they don't witness the solidarity of the north east coal fields as was".

An independent councillor said: "The students do not bring a lot to our communities, there's a lot of take but not a lot given back".

The councillor also added: "There's already enough in Durham City and they're starting to spread to the villages."

One Durham student told The Tab they find it difficult to interact with locals.

They said: "At the end of the day we live separately to them … so it's hard to interact with people you hardly ever see. They don't try to interact with us."

Durham University's Pro-Vice Chancellor rebuffed the council's words, saying, "Every year we contribute over £600 million to the regional economy, our cultural attractions are visited by over 200,000 people, and our staff and students dedicate over 25,000 hours to good causes through volunteering, and growth will add to this".

He added: "The university are committed to fostering a positive environment for all who live, work, and study here and we value open dialogue with partners, residents, and others on how best to achieve this, together."