‘Naked students’ issue prompts warning over blinds as college applies to extend bar hours

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Extra privacy measures had to be added to a Durham University college after those living nearby ended up seeing a bit more than they bargained for.

Film was applied to windows at Ustinov College’s accommodation in Sheraton Park, Neville’s Cross, and occupants reminded to use their blinds after managers received an email simply titled ‘naked students’.

College bosses revealed the measures this week while arguing they should be allowed to extend opening hours at the site’s bar.

Durham County Council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee had been asked to rule on the issue after two objections were made to the application.

But councillors gave the scheme the greenlight after being promised the changes won’t mean a noticeable difference for families living nearby.

“The application seeks to extend [the opening] period so students can enjoy the social space for a bit longer,” Ian McDonald, Ustinov College’s business operations manager, told the panel.

“We’ve consulted widely: we’ve met with the Sheraton Park Residents’ Association; we’ve met with the Neville’s Cross Community Association, which is a wider body; we’ve met with local councillors; local residents are represented on the bar management committee and I have met with the local police.

“We’ve received no objections to the proposed variations from any of these groups and with the police we established there had been no adverse reports relating to our site.”

Mr McDonald also told the committee a dedicated email set up to report incidents relating to the college had not received any complaints about ‘noise or drunkenness’.

But he added he had received some complaints about a lack of road and traffic awareness among students, as well as one about views into accommodation which prompted additional privacy measures.

Ustinov College is exclusively for postgraduate students, many of whom are also from overseas.

Of the two objections to the scheme, one was withdrawn and the author of the second did not attend the meeting.

Following the decision, the bar will now be able to serve alcohol:

7.30pm – midnight on Thursdays and Fridays

2pm – midnight on Saturdays

Closing time will be 12.20am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Licensed opening hours for Sunday – Wednesday remain unchanged.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service