Fresh Plans Submitted for Bath Student Development

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New plans have been submitted to transform the Pickfords storage warehouse in Bath, into student accommodation.

A previously submitted scheme put forward last year was refused by Bath and North East Somerset Council, who said the design was 'depressing, dismal and prison-like'.

Members voted to refuse the application, with its appearance being the main objection.

However, now a new outline application for up to 204-student rooms has been put forward. Under the proposals submitted by Eagle One Estates, the main block will be reduced in height.

Documents submitted as part of the application process, said: "The application is a re-submission following an earlier refusal of planning permission contrary to the recommendation of the council's professional advisors. It incorporates adjustments to the design in response to some of the issues raised by members."

The applicants went on to suggest the council is expecting 8,000 more students by 2020-21, therefore there is an urgent need for additional purpose-built student accommodation.

At the previous Development Management Committee meeting in May there were no objections raised in relation to building more student accommodation, but locals had raised concerns over new student schemes located near the city centre.

A decision on the latest application is due before November 9.

Huge Student Accommodation Development Planned for Cardiff

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Another huge student accommodation development has been earmarked for Cardiff, which if given the go ahead would result in an additional 711 student bed spaces.

Plans have been put together to develop the former Evans Halshaw garage in Easy Bay Close into 711 student rooms, equipped with a tennis court, volleyball court, and basketball and table tennis spaces. The 10-storey scheme would also include a gym, cinema and meeting room, as well as a roof garden.

The scale of the proposed scheme would make it bigger in terms of beds, than the Howard Garden site and the 42-storey tower planned for the city centre.

However, due to its size, concerns have been raised over the possible impact it will have on traffic and parking in the south of the city.

The developer said of the scheme: "The site is in a very prominent central location that offers direct access to employment, leisure, shopping and major transport links.

"The scheme provides a strong presence at this prominent location, with good views across the surrounding area."

The student accommodation would be marketed to students using both Cardiff University and the University of South Wales and would predominantly consist of studios, with 30% allocated as cluster flats.

Those against the development suggest the new scheme will make it impossible to park, whilst concerns have also been raised regarding the pressure additional occupants will place on local infrastructure.

Worcester Student Scheme Set for Launch

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Work has been completed on transforming part of an unused building in Worcester into boutique student accommodation.

Dorset-based developers Stannary Solutions have teamed up with IKEA to refurbish Farrier House, creating 69 en-suite student rooms.

The development comes equipped with two cinema rooms, a cafe, free laundry facilities, double kitchens at the end of each floor, and six rooms for wheelchair users.

The site will retain its doctor's surgery on the ground floor, however the scheme now features a landscaped rooftop terrace offering seating with views overlooking the city centre.

Commenting on the development, Steve Emson, of Farrier House, said: "The is way out in front of other student accommodation in Worcester in terms of quality and what is on offer to the students.

"Hopefully this will have a knock-on effect for all other student accommodation to improve and help encourage more students to Worcester and build what is a fantastic city to live and work in."

Unite Propose New Plans for Bristol Infirmary

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Plans to knock down the old Bristol Royal Infirmary building and replace it with student flats have come up against stiff opposition.

More than 600 people have filed objections to knocking down the Bristol infirmary and replacing it with a nine-storey block, able to accommodation 715 students.

Student specialists Unite, is hoping to demolish the site on Marlborough Street and replace it with a block of purpose-built student accommodation.

The proposals include 715 student bed spaces, communal areas and a central courtyard. The development will consist of a seven, eight and nine-storey building, as well as further buildings to the rear that could accommodate offices and a shop.

According to Unite, the new development could generate up to 280-300 jobs in the area. In documents submitted as part of the application, the company said: "Students and new workers will increase economic activity in the area, which will serve to benefit local retail and commercial facilities in the area such as the retail function located towards Christmas Steps Arts Quarter."

However, those against the scheme cited the development's "monolithic" size and the city's acute housing crisis as reasons for objection. There are also concerns that as the student population grows the city will lose even more income due to student exemptions.

The latest plan proceeds an even larger scheme, up to 20-storeys tall, which was previously rejected by councillors, despite planning officers recommending its approval.

Unite purchased the infirmary in 2015 and hope to finally receive approval to develop the site after several failed attempts.

Acceptance Rates Remain Down on Last Year

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UCAS has reported that 461,860 people have been placed in full-time UK higher education, a decline of 1% compared to the same point last year.

Since A-level results day a further 45,550 people have had their university and college places confirmed. This includes 33,750 people accepted through Clearing, which represents an increase of 1% on the same time last year.

The total Clearing figure includes 28,270 people placed after applying through the main UCAS scheme, as well as 5,480 who applied directly through Clearing after the June 30 deadline. A further 8,440 people have applied directly to Clearing but are yet to be placed in higher education.

There are an additional 124,190 people who applied through the main UCAS scheme and are free to be placed in Clearing, a decline of 13% on last year. However, this figure will decrease as applicants are placed. This total includes those who weren't able to meet their offer conditions, whilst others will have received no offers earlier in the year, and some may have chosen not to accept any offers.

Nottingham's Student Accommodation Increases by a Third

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Analysis has found the number of student houses in Nottingham have risen by a third in just six years.

In 2010 there were 8,743 student properties in the city, however this has risen to 11,645 as of last year, representing an increase of 33%.

Student houses in Nottingham now reportedly account for one in 12 homes in the city.

Despite an influx of student accommodation, the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses in Nottingham, remains supportive overall, highlighting the significant contribution students bring to the city's economy.

A spokesman for the chamber said: "Students contribute £63m a year in and around the city. That's from rent and day-to-day costs to nightlife.

"But they also provide huge other benefits to the local community.

"The universities themselves also bring in such colossal amounts of revenue, which without them we wouldn't have a taste of.

"They bring in tourism, when it's freshers week parents come down and they need to stay somewhere. You have to look at the wider picture. Nottingham would be a far poorer place without students."

The recent increase in student accommodation has been attributed to the rise in purpose-built student accommodation, which has the added benefit of freeing up traditional housing for the residential market.

However, it's not all positive. Managing director at Innes England, Tim Garrett, highlighted that purpose-built student accommodation was taking away suitable office space, limiting the number of potential new office jobs.

Former Conservative Chief of Staff Describes Tuition Fees As a Ponzi Scheme

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Theresa May's former chief of staff has described the current university fee system as a "unsustainable Ponzi scheme", which is in need of radical reform.

Nick Timothy compared the fee system in England to the investment scam, whereby high returns are promised for investors, but are in fact generated by using money from new investors. Eventually the scam runs out of funds and the whole scheme collapses.

Mr Timothy wrote: "Tuition fees were supposed to make university funding fairer for the taxpayer, but more than three quarters of graduates will never pay back their debts.

"We have created an unsustainable and ultimately pointless Ponzi scheme, and young people know it.

"With average debts of £50,000, graduates in England are the most indebted in the developed world."

Mr Timothy resigned as a Number 10 adviser following the 2017 election but had backed the idea of a single financial entitlement, which could be spent on any kind of tertiary education, including technical courses.

He suggested governments had wrongly assumed that an increase in university graduates would boost economic growth, and that technical qualifications were more likely to boost productivity.

Responding to the comments, universities minister Jo Johnson defended the system. Mr Johnson said: "Young people from the poorest areas are now 43% more likely to go to university than in 2009-10, and 52% more likely to attend a high tariff institution."

University Acceptances Down 2% on last Year

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UCAS has confirmed that 416,310 students have been accepted at UK universities and colleges so far this year.

The number of students accepted on A-level results day is down 2% compared to 2016, but represents the second highest number recorded. The decline in acceptances can be attributed to a fall in older students, as well as fewer students from the European Union.

In total 201,270 18-year olds from the UK gained a place, a similar number to last year and the highest number recorded on A-level results day.

The percentage of 18-year olds in the population securing a place at a university or college was recorded at 27.5% for England, 28.3% for Northern Ireland, 24.9% for Scotland and 24.8% for Wales.

Elsewhere the number of students placed from the EU fell 3% year-on-year to 26,090, while the number of international students accepted, increased by 4% to 30,350.

Commenting on the latest figures, UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant, said: "The overall numbers of students being accepted onto courses is lower, but it is a complicated picture. We are seeing a growing proportion of 18 year olds going into higher education, and greater numbers of students from our most deprived communities are securing places.

"At the same time, we are seeing fewer older students taking places, and a fall in numbers from the EU. Higher education is still a hugely popular life choice, which has a transformational impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year."

Government Confirms It Will Hike Interest Rates on Student Loans

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The government has reinforced its stance on charging interest rates on student loans in England of 6.1% from autumn this year.

There had been reports the government might rethink its plans to charge such high interest rates due to fears of excessive debt levels.

However, this week the Department for Education and the Student Loans Company confirmed the proposed increase.

The announcement rules out speculation the government was considering limiting interest rate increases for student loans on tuition fees and maintenance costs from September 2017 to August 2018.

Students are due to receive their A-level results this week, and those starting university this year will be subject to the 6.1% interest rate charge on student loans.

A recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies calculated that students will have accumulated on average, £5,800 in interest rate charges before they have even graduated.

However, it's not just new students being hit. The increase will also apply to other former students who received loans after fees were increased to £9,000 in 2012.

University Minister Jo Johnson has previously argued the fee system represented a fair distribution of costs between students and taxpayers and that it provides financial sustainability for universities.

Co-living Scheme Planned for Manchester

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iQ Student has revealed plans to create a brand-new block of student accommodation for graduates in Manchester's city centre.

Under the proposals, three blocks of 'co-living accommodation' will be built on Granby Row, near Piccadilly station.

The development will be dubbed Echo Street and will consist of 643 bedrooms across a mix of studios and shared apartments. The rooms will be made available for young professionals who are being out priced by the current private rental market.

iQ claims the scheme will make city centre living affordable for graduates and young professionals, with only one week's deposit required and all-inclusive rents.

The Echo Street scheme will also feature 242 bedrooms of student accommodation on the site of the existing Chandos House, which is owned and operated by iQ Student Accommodation.

Plans for the proposed development will undergo a three-week public consultation before being submitted to Manchester city council. If the plans are given the green light, developers expect to start work on the site in 2018.

Commenting on the proposed scheme, Rob Roger, chief executive of iQ Student Accommodation said: "We are pleased to be proposing this landmark scheme, a first of its kind outside London which aims to become a new solution for graduates and urban professionals who want to live in the heart of the city.

"We believe developments like Echo Street will help to retain talent and attract young professionals, further supporting the major growth that this vibrant city is experiencing.

"As the size and demand of the rental population in Manchester has grown, average rents have risen steeply, making it harder for young people who contribute so much to the city to live centrally. This development is addressing a real need."