Durham University to purchase Durham Council’s £50m headquarters

Durham University continues to play Monopoly with Durham City real estate

Durham University is currently in talks with Durham County Council about the purchase of its newly built headquarters. The controversial build, located at The Sands was set to replace the existing County Hall in Aykley Heads. Although it is yet to be put to use, the build has allegedly already cost Durham County Council £50 million.

The site which was previously used as a car park overlooks the River Wear and is part of a regeneration plan for The Sands and riverside area.

Reports state that the university plan to use the building to accommodate its expanding business school which will move from its current base at Elvet Hill. A spokesperson for the university contended that the new business school could create 153 new jobs.

Before its original approval in 2019, protests were staged opposing the build due to the fear of city centre traffic issues and problems for local businesses. A local resident took to Facebook earlier today to offer their praise for the sale highlighting that student use would mean less car use and therefore would tackle the parking and traffic issues. However, others highlighted the wasted economic prospects with an original supporting argument for the build being 1,000 council workers using shops and cafes in the city centre – places which students will already frequently use.

Under new political leadership, Durham County Council is now in talks about the sale of the site to ensure ‘value for money for the authority’. A decision on the sale is said to be set for the end of April with Durham Univerisity’s planning application for change of use to be considered by July.