Bath Student Development Put Forward

Posted by Richard Ward in

A planning application has been submitted to develop the site of Pickfords on Lower Bristol Road, into purpose-built student accommodation.

The plans, submitted by Eagle One Estates to Bath and North East Somerset Council, call for the demolition of the existing Pickfords building, which will be replaced by a two-storey student block able to accommodate up to 204 bedrooms.

Situated on 34-35 Lower Bristol Road, residents have been invited to comment on the proposed development via an online form on the council website. The public consultation is due to close on December 19, at which point the Development Management Committee will consider the application.

A final decision is expected no later than February 9 next year.

So far objections from local residents include the argument there is enough student accommodation in Bath already, and the proposed development would negatively impact traffic flow in the area.

279-bed Leicester Development Finally Approved

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Code Student Accommodation has finally won its battle with Leicester City Council to build a block of student flats overlooking Bede Park.

Initially the council refused permission to develop a block of 279 student flats as part of a multi-million-pound extension to its existing student accommodation development in Western Road.

Subsequently Code Student Accommodation appealed against the decision, which resulted in a Government planning inspector overturning the ruling.

A large number of local residents had originally objected to the scheme, located next to the Western pub and the Old River Soar. At the time council officers argued that adding a substantial amount of new flats would impact the surrounding area, which is already densely populated with student residences.

Code disputed the figures on student numbers in the ward used by the council to make its objection, and the planning inspector backed the developer. As a result of the ruling on November 28, Code Student Accommodation have now recommenced work on the site.

Despite the positive outcome for Code, property director Rick Moore said: "We don't feel triumphalist as we have incurred around £250,000 in legal fees and considerable delay to the regeneration of this part of the waterside."

Code's managing director, Jamie Lewis, had asked for the council to pay the company's legal costs following the outcome, but the application was dismissed.

The developers argued that high quality purpose-built student accommodation has far less of an impact on the local community than students living in terraced houses dispersed among many streets with no on-site management or security.

Coventry Universities to Spend £179m on New Accommodation

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Both of Coventry's universities have pledged to invest a combined £179 million to develop accommodation for thousands of students as numbers increase in the city.

The University of Warwick is set to invest £90m in student accommodation over the next four years, while Coventry University will spend £89m over the same period.

The decision to invest heavily in student accommodation has been taken to keep up with the rapid growth in student numbers expected in the city.

Reports suggest there are already 50,000 students based in the city, and rising, but only 4,000 purpose built rooms.

Head of communications for the University of Warwick, Peter Dunn, said: "We have no significant plans for expansion of our student numbers, however we do plan to accommodate for any overshoots in student recruitment due to our popularity, at a rate of around 200 or so students a year.

"We are spending £90m on new campus accommodation and the first 267 places will be ready by October 2017".

Mr Dunn indicated the university has 6,529 students on campus out of 24,000 enrolled on courses.

A similar stance has been taken by Coventry University, which is also looking to increase its student accommodation provision. Work is already underway at the Bishop Gate development, which will provide beds for more than 1,800 students once complete.

Manchester University Becomes First Carbon Literate University in the World

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Manchester University has been named the first carbon literate university and museum in the world.

The University was awarded a bronze Carbon Literate Organisation award for its 10,000 Actions project, which asked every member of staff to take part in collective, measurable improvements towards sustainability.

As part of the project each member of staff was given the chance to learn about key issues of sustainability including travel, responsible purchasing and energy.

Manchester Museum, which is part of the university, won a gold award due to the vast majority of staff undertaking carbon literacy training, as well as the institution writing carbon literacy into its review and performance processes.

James Thompson, Associate Vice President for Social Responsibility, said: "This is fantastic achievement for the University and brilliant recognition for the staff working on 10,000 Actions and carbon literacy at the Museum."

The award is designed to recognise those employers who have committed to becoming Carbon Literate Organisations, by having a substantial number of people who are carbon literate and have a commitment to support them and maintain a low carbon culture.

University Income Reaches £30 Billion

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A report produced by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) has revealed the UK university sector increased its annual turnover by £2 billion in one year, placing total turnover for the entire sector at £30 billion.

Spanning the academic year of 2014-15, the report outlines the evolving profile of the university estate in the UK. The report revealed income in the sector increased across all areas, with teaching income up 6%, research income up 12% and other income up 10%.

Capital expenditure during 2014-15 increased by 5.6% across the UK, driven by additional investment in the estate, as the sector continues to improve its facilities to meet increasing demand for high quality and attractive facilities.

The report suggests University estates have continued to grow, expanding by 200,000 square metres compared to the previous year to 14.3 million square metres. In particular, the universities of Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford and Nottingham all have academic estates in excess of 500,000 square metres.

Despite the growth in the overall footprint of universities nationwide, total property costs have remained relatively flat for the past six years, increasing from £95 to £98 per square metre, suggesting the sector's continued commitment to driving efficiency.

Sir Ian Diamond, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen said of the findings: "A real feature of the evolution of the higher education estate in recent years has been how the local community is able to use the estate, or in which developments are a part of the community. Imaginatively developed facilities can support and enhance higher education's contribution to the economy and to society. But in this landscape, there is no room for complacency."

Watkin Jones Forward Sells Two Assets

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Watkin Jones PLC has forward sold two of its developments to institutional investors for an undisclosed fee.

The first site is located on Bridge Street in Cardiff, with the second situated in Queen Street in Belfast.

The Cardiff development consists of a 472-bed student development close to Cardiff Queen Street station, which is due for delivery in August 2018 in time for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Belfast asset is located opposite John Bell House, another one of Watkin Jones sites that was completed earlier this year. The 240-bed scheme is also due for completion in August 2018 in time for the start of the new year.

Chief executive Mark Watkin Jones said: "“We are delighted to announce today that we have forward sold our development in Cardiff and Belfast to two institutional investors in purpose build student accommodation, which further underpins the visibility of earnings and cash flow. The interest in the sector remains strong."

The University of Surrey Begins Huge New Student Accommodation Project

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Work has now begun on a new accommodation development at the University of Surrey's new Manor Park Campus student village.

The new scheme forms part of the university's £75 million student village redevelopment plans. After breaking ground this week, the first 500 rooms are scheduled to be delivered by September 2018, bringing the number of student beds at Manor Park up to 3,000. By 2020 this number is scheduled to rise to 4,000 with the completion of the project, bringing the university in line with the upper limit of its planning permission.

Chief Operating Officer at the University of Surrey, David Sharkey, has said of the development; "Our students are badly affected by the lack of reasonable quality, affordable accommodation in the town. We are therefore particularly pleased to make this further investment in new student accommodation, and are looking forward both to welcoming the first students into that accommodation in September 2018 and to completing the further phases."

Including the money invested in current works, the University of Surrey have invested £150 in accommodation since 2005.

Freeze on Income Threshold Puts More Financial Pressure on Students

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MoneySavingExpert's Martin Lewis has called upon the government to reverse controversial plans to freeze the income threshold at which university loans must be paid back.

Despite a pledge to increase the income threshold each year in line with average earnings, changes made in 2015 will see the level of income which students must earn before paying back their loans being frozen at £21,000.

Martin Lewis suggested it represented the mis-selling of loans to thousands of young people, which will result in the average student paying an additional £306 a year more in 2020-21 compared with 2016-17.

It's hoped the Labour party frontbench will more vocally oppose the freeze, with MP Wes Streeting saying: "If any commercial bank or pay day lender behaved like this there would be outrage and the FCA would be stepping in."

Streeting had tabled two amendments to the higher education and research bill in an attempt to bar the government from making retrospective changes to student finance without it being looked at by an independent panel, however Tory MPs defeated the amendments in the Commons last week.

Mr Streeting said: "There's a serious issue about trust here: if students are being promised the threshold will go up, and it doesn't, what's to stop current or future students finding suddenly the interest rates goes up, or debts aren't written off after 30 years like they were promised?"

Student Accommodation to Become Coventry's Tallest Building

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A new student accommodation block in Coventry has been granted permission and once built will become the city's tallest building.

Located on the site of Cox Street car park, the £50 million development will be 21-storeys tall or 200ft, beating the current tallest building also under construction, the Belgrade Plaza development at 20-storeys.

Submitted by CODE Student Accommodation in August, the development consists of 1,000 student bedrooms across four blocks ranging from six to 21-storeys high. There will also be space on the ground floor, which will be used as retail units.

According to the developers, they wish to create a high-quality and landmark development that "would benefit from a move away from the traditional rectangular/square box appearance."

In particular, CODE Student Accommodation suggested the site would meet the 2001 local plan, specifically to create a high-quality and more sustainable city, as well as promote local area regeneration.

Not only do the developers believe the proposal would enhance the local economy they also stressed the added benefit in that traditional terrace housing currently occupied by students will be released for family and non-student use.

New Graduates Drawn to London

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A report published by the thinktank Centre for Cities suggests that one in four recent university graduates chose to work in the capital, harming the prospects of other cities which require the skills they hold.

The report highlights the difficulties facing government in tackling the economic dominance of the south of England with London receiving a disproportionate share of graduates.

The report used data on university leavers and the jobs market to estimate and map where graduates end up. It found that 24% of new graduates from UK universities in 2014 and 2015 were working in London within six months of completing their course.

Not only is the capital attracting the greatest number of graduates it's also attracting those with the highest marks from leading institutions. In 2014-15, London attracted 38% of new graduates with firsts and 2:1s from Russell Group universities, which is around 13 times more than Manchester, the second most popular destination for that group of leavers.

For Oxford and Cambridge, the figure was even higher with London attracting 52% of Oxbridge graduates.

Chief executive of the Centre for Cities, Alexandra Jones, said: "The government will not achieve its vision of extending prosperity and growth across the country unless it takes steps to help more cities attract and retain the UK's top talent."