Substantial new green spaces will be opened up to the public as part of a planned update of the masterplan for the ongoing development of the Mount Oswald site in Durham City.
Regional employer The Banks Group has been progressing its comprehensive proposals for Mount Oswald since they were approved by Durham County Council in 2013, and has now submitted an application to the Council to amend its original layout in light of its experiences on site over the last two years.
The update will see the number of large self-build plots in the central area of the site reduced from sixteen to just five, with new links between the northern and southern areas of the site being created through the established parkland that sits in that location.
Durham-headquartered Banks is now set to host an exhibition of its updated proposals between 3pm and 7pm on Monday 7 December in the Lindisfarne Centre at St Aidan’s College in order to allow local people to see and ask questions about the changes that are being put forward.
The overall number of homes at Mount Oswald will remain the same as previously approved, but reducing the number of large one acre plots has allowed the central area to be opened up to create a public park and better connectivity between the northern and southern housing areas while still allowing homes to be built along the western edge.
Over the last year, around half of the 60 homes planned by North East housebuilder David Wilson Homes for the first phase of the Mount Oswald site have been built, and the first few families have now moved in.
Banks has also installed a sustainable urban drainage system in the southern area of the site, as well as completing the installation of the northern access road, and it is expecting to see work begin on the second phase of residential development at the site next year
John Ruddick, senior property development manager at The Banks Group, says: “It’s exciting to have seen our vision for Mount Oswald as an outstanding, high quality, low density, sustainable new neighbourhood of families and students with a green setting and infrastructure begin to become a reality over the last couple of years.
“As with any major development of this type, the experience of making planning proposals a reality unearths a number of new opportunities to enhance what’s on site, and our exhibition will provide full details of how we’re now looking to do this.
“The importance of maximising the amount of green open spaces that are available to the public was stressed to us by many local people during our community discussions around the Mount Oswald site, and the changes we’re hoping to make will open up substantial new areas of mature parkland that we know will be welcomed and well used by local people.”
The Mount Oswald scheme, which was designed by Banks in support of the County Council’s vision ofDurham City acting as a driver of economic growth in the county, will see around 120 people employed on site during its construction phase, with a further 100 jobs across the supply chain, and will see more than £4.2million allocated by Banks to pay for substantial improvements for the local community.
Up to a further 164 permanent jobs could also be supported by the different elements of the Mount Oswald development when it is complete, with local employment opportunities being created on the site through a new convenience store, University buildings, small offices and the re-use of the Mount Oswald manor house.
Both formal play spaces and informal open spaces are included in the plan, over 3.5 kilometres of new footpaths, new woodland in the central part of the site and a range of animal habitat enhancements.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “The potential of Mount Oswald is beginning to be visibly realised, and we would expect to see a great deal more progress through 2016.
“There’s a great deal of local interest in the work that’s now being undertaken at the site, and a long-established Durham-based family business, we are proud to be taking forward an excellent scheme which will have long-term positive implications on many levels for both the city and the wider region.”
For further information on the Mount Oswald development, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/mount-