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Portsmouth's Tax Office Faces Student Conversion

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

In the latest attempt to transform the disused Wingfield house that lies on Commercial Road, PLC Architects are seeking permission for external alterations to what would become a block of 309 studios. The plans have met a great degree of opposition from politicians stating that affordable housing would be a much better use of the site.

The council's deputy leader Lib Dem councillor has expressed his view and stated that 'Current student homes in the city are not at capacity at all. We have got enough already and don't need anymore.' He then went on to explain that in his mind, why when under capacity, would you build more student accommodation when property for local citizens would be preferable?

Using the data we hold at StuRents we know that from all planning applications for student accommodation approximately 50% are for studio apartments. We also know that around 20% of all searches on our platform are attributed to studio accommodation. This implies that the councillors claim is definitely substantiated in regards to studio apartments. If we consider the supply of all student accommodation in Portsmouth, then if all PBSA developments in the pipeline are delivered, total supply would increase by 5.8% compared to current levels.

This increase is irrespective of the plans to build a further 309 studios mentioned above which will likely add additional oversupply to the local market.

Adding to the Lib Dem councillor's concerns we at StuRents project that by 2020 supply would have grown by 4% more than demand, based on historical trends.

The building on Commercial Road has been disused for two years and although these plans would make use of that space, one could argue the long-term benefit could be detrimental.