Decision Expected This Week on Major Accommodation Scheme in Exeter

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A decision on the University of Exeter's major student accommodation park will be given this week.

Plans to build student housing for University of Exeter students were recommended for approval by planning officers, but only after the scheme was deferred in February to allow for a planning revision.

Following the plans alterations, the University say the site will now contain a minimum of 1,200 student beds in buildings, which are 11 percent smaller and situated further away from residents.

Three of the tower blocks have been reduced in height, making them all three storeys tall, and two additional blocks have been entirely removed from the plans.

The amendments ensure the green space on the proposed site is now 73 percent larger than originally planned.

Despite the changes and the project being scaled back, the application saw a huge number of objections being submitted. In total 408 separate objections were raised, with members of the public still not satisfied with the revision.

Commenting on application Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Peter Hollland, said: "I was frustrated the meeting was so restricted and invitation only. I feel residents have been let down.

"I was also frustrated that at the previous planning meeting in which it was considered, the plans were 30 seconds away from being declined but for the intervention of Cllr's Phil Bialyk and Peter Edwards who proposed the decision be deferred instead."

It's understood residents had asked for a 40 percent reduction in scale of the site, with the university only providing a 11 percent reduction in their revised plans.

Although Mr Holland agreed the additional purpose-built student beds would ease the pressure on houses of multiple occupancy, there are concerns over what will happen when these students move out of university halls in years two and three.

If approved the new accommodation is scheduled for completion by September 2021.


European Students Eligible for Loans and Grants in 2018-19

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The government has announced that Europeans studying in the UK will remain eligible for grants and loans in 2018-19.

Even after the UK leaves the European Union, those students from the EU will remain entitled to receive grants and loans for the 2018-19 academic year.

Ministers said attracting talent from across the globe was key to success and the announcement will go some way to easing concerns over EU students' rights post Brexit.

Separately, the government had already guaranteed financial support to those starting courses this year, but the latest announcement was welcomed by vice-chancellors.

University UK's deputy chief executive, Alistair Jarvis, said: "Students from EU countries can now apply for places on undergraduate courses starting in autumn 2018 with the confidence that they will not have to pay up-front tuition fees and will remain eligible to receive government-backed loans to cover their tuition fee for the duration of their courses.

"This announcement also means that EU students commencing courses in autumn 2018 will continue to pay the same tuition fees as UK students for the full duration of their courses, even those years past the point the UK exits the EU."

Mr Jarvis suggested it was now vital the government communicates the change in policy to prospective students across Europe.

Meanwhile, acting director of the Russell Group of top research universities, Dr Tim Bradshaw, suggested the announcement gives EU students the certainty they need when considering the UK and provides clarity to universities.


Bath Cricket Ground to Become Accommodation for Students

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Plans have been put forward to develop a 140-bed student accommodation block on the site of the Bath Cricket Club ground in the city centre.

The scheme includes plans for a new indoor training facility, which the club says it needs in order to safeguard its future, as the existing building no longer meets the minimum requirements as outlined by the English Cricket Board.

So far, the applicant has only submitted a screening opinion to Bath and North East Somerset Council, with a public exhibition outlining the plans, scheduled for next month.

Bath Cricket Club chairman Matt Hankins suggested that in order to develop the clubs ambitions they need to maximum their assets, which in turn will protect the work they wish to achieve. To facilitate this the club has decided to pursue an element of private development on its city centre site.

The student accommodation is being proposed by specialists Gilltown Limited and calls for the construction of a 145-bed student scheme, complete with car parking.

The plans also include the demolition of the existing cricket centre and gym, which will subsequently be replaced with new facilities.

Commenting on the plans managing director of Gilltown Limited, Paul Gillespie, said: "The plan is to build a brand-new cricket school and gymnasium to re-engineer the site" and the company has been working "for some time to improve the club's facilities".

The accommodation will be available to University of Bath students.


Work Begins on Shrewsbury Student Housing

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Work is due to begin on the construction of a new student accommodation scheme in St Austin's Street Shrewsbury.

Shropshire Council announced this week the Tanney car park in St Austin's Street will close on Sunday as work begins on creating the next phase of the town's student housing.

Plans for the student accommodation were approved last year and will result in the former study centre situated on the site being demolished to make way for the scheme.

The building will be delivered in phases and Shropshire Council, who currently own the site, will take lead in the development with its construction partner Morris Property.

The new site will sit alongside the existing student housing at Mardol House in Shrewsbury town centre and will be occupied by University Centre Shrewsbury students.

Commenting on the development, Tim Smith, head of business, enterprise and commercial services at Shropshire Council, said: "This new accommodation will support the redevelopment of the west end of Shrewsbury town centre and will be a significant improvement for the area."

Once all phases of the development are complete the site will be able to house over 200 students.

The plans were originally scheduled for completion in time for the 2016/17 academic year, but were subsequently pushed back while the council and University Centre Shrewsbury assessed the expected demand for bed spaces.


The University of Hertfordshire Nominated for Accommodation Award

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The University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield has been shortlisted for the Best Student Housing award at the 2017 College and University Business Officers Awards.

Run in association with University Business, the CUBO Awards is a yearly event which aims to recognise the achievements of those working in higher education.

Chosen by a panel of CUBO members, the College Lane campus in Hatfield was one of three to be shortlisted for the Best Student Housing award.

The campus has benefited from significant investment over the last three years and its transformation forms part of the University's Estates Strategy.

A university spokesperson said of the accommodation: "Now home to around 3,000 students, the university wanted to create a genuine campus experience with students at the heart of the development.

"This includes creating community living which has been achieved by breaking down the accommodation into colleges of 500 bedrooms.

"There are also various social and communal areas across the residences with each having a large common room.

"Kitchens have also been built to cook and entertain, as well as a central social space, multi-use games area and 3G sports facilities."

The accommodation focuses on promoting social interaction, with its townhouses sharing a large open plan living, kitchen and dining area.

CUBO members will vote for the winners of the award, which will be announced at The CUBO Awards ceremony on June 28.


Derby Student Accommodation to Maintain City Heritage

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In a bid to maintain Derby city's heritage, horse-powered tram tracks dating back to the 1800s are to be reinstated at a new student accommodation block.

A 45-metre section of tramline and its surrounding cobbles were removed by Clegg Construction prior to work starting on the student block in Agard Street.

However, developers will use past photos, site plans and survey data to reinstall the tramline once the site is near completion.

Costing £17 million, the student accommodation is being built next to the existing copper-clad University of Derby law department located on the corner of Ford Street and Agard Street.

The tracks ran along Short Street, which previously connected Agart Street with Friar Gate, and were associated with the 1881 Friar Gate tram depot which operated across Derby,

Commenting on the decision to reinstate the tramlines, Dave Swift, construction manager at Clegg Construction, said: "Removing them wasn't a difficult process and it's been quite interesting, we took the tramlines out in sections and removed the cobbles. It took about three and a half weeks and will take about six to eight weeks to put everything back."

Mr Swift indicated work was progressing well, which once complete will see the construction of 244 en-suite bedrooms as well as communal areas, kitchens and dining rooms.


RLA Argues Agency Fee Ban Unlikely Before Late 2018

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Analysis by the Residential Landlords' Association (RLA) suggests a ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants in England is unlikely to be implemented before late next year.

The legislation is currently at consultation stage and is open for responses until June 2. Despite the recent call for a general election, the Department of Communities and Local Government has confirmed this remains the case.

The association's policy director, David Smith, said of the proposals: "The ban will need primary legislation and so the actual implementation date is not clear but is unlikely to be before late 2018."

The RLA have also argued there are several issues surrounding the consultation document.

The RLA argue the document highlights that the government assumes the entire agency market is the same. In reality they claim in some areas landlords have difficulty shopping around, whilst in more serviced markets there is reportedly evidence that tenants do shop around and compare agent fees.

Mr Smith also questioned another of the governments objectives, namely limiting the size of tenancy deposits. The argument is any such control would result in rent being asked for in advance or guarantors being sought.

Another concern is whether removing the ability to charge agency fees will mean those to landlords will rise.

In addition to the problem of enforcing the ban, he added: "With landlords already being pressed by tax changes they may well look to increase rent to cover these new costs although there will be a cap on what the market will bear in some areas."


19-storey Student Block Approved in Coventry

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Planning permission has been granted for a 19-storey student accommodation block on Friar's Road in Coventry.

The scheme will consist of 140 studios and 443 cluster en-suite flats.

Sitting on the junction of Friar's Road and St Patrick's Road, the site is located to the south of Coventry city centre and is just a short walk to Coventry University's campus, as well as the train station and the city's main shopping centre.

Included in the plans is a gym, common room, study area, cinema and a private outdoor courtyard.

Developers Crosslane will hand over the management of the site to Prime Student Living once complete.

Commenting on the development, Mike Moran, development manager at Crosslane Student Developments, said: "The proposed scheme will act as a gateway from the station into the heart of the city centre and is a short walk to Coventry University.

"At 583 beds, the scheme will be a significant contribution to easing the supply-demand fundamentals which persist for purpose-built student accommodation in the city."

If all goes to plan the new student accommodation is due to open in time for the 2019/20 academic year.


Student Flats Earmarked for Sunderland

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Plans to build a student accommodation block on a historic Sunderland site have been submitted to the authorities.

Under the proposals, the former Speeding's Sails building on Whickham Street, will be demolished to make way for a five-storey block of student flats.

The 19th century warehouse has been described as being of "industrial heritage significance" in reference to Sunderland's ship building past.

Under the plans the current site will be flattened and replaced with a five-storey purpose-built student accommodation block providing 68 bedrooms.

Developers will arrange the beds in flats of between 3 and 5 rooms each sharing communal facilities. There will also be enough parking space for four vehicles and a large cycle storage area.

Those behind the plans have recognised the sites local historic interest and plan to appease concerns by preserving the building's stone sign and donating it to Sunderland Museum.

In addition to maintaining the building's sign, an extensive recording project will take place prior to any demolition work.

Councillors are set to decide on the buildings fate at a planning meeting taking place on April 25.


St Andrews Begins University Halls Expansion

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The University of St Andrews has got the ball rolling on its £70 million student accommodation project.

The university has submitted two separate applications to expand its halls of residences to increase the number of available student bed spaces.

Planning applications were put forward to extend the Agnes Blackadder Hall and the University Hall. Once complete the extended accommodation will provide a further 360 student beds.

The plans fall within the university's wider ambition to provide 900 extra beds for students, which once complete would increase the amount of accommodation to 4,900 beds.

Construction work is expected to start in August of this year, with the project due for completion in time for the 2018/19 academic term.

Commenting on the development, the university said: "St Andrews has always been a small university, and intends to stay relatively small. The intimacy of the town, the closeness of the community and the interaction of town and gown are key elements of the St Andrews experience.

"However, we do plan managed, moderate student growth over the next 10 years."

The university suggested the aforementioned growth will allow the institution to resist inflationary pressures on its cost base, but does require additional investment into student housing.

Part of the plans also include the refurbishment of Gregory Place, Old Wing University Hall, and Andrew Melville Hall.

St Andrews Community Council have welcomed the development and at a recent planning meeting no objections were raised.