Two Student Developments Planned for Exeter

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Two student housing developments situated close to the University of Exeter campus have been submitted to city planners.

The applications have been put forward as part of a long-term plan to increase the amount of accommodation for students on Streatham Campus.

There are already around 4,000 beds on the campus, but the University wants to add more to cater for its planned expansion, particularly to meet expected demand from first year students and international postgraduates.

As part of the wider project, a large-scale plan for East Park has already been approved by Exeter City Council's planning committee.

The latest application outlines plans to develop a block of student accommodation at Spreytonway, St Germans Road, which would include the demolition of the existing buildings. In its place a total of 131 student bedrooms could be built.

A statement released by the University said: "The development of Spreytonway is a natural extension of the Eastern Residential Community of Lafrowda and St German's Halls."

They also argued the new development will preserve the character of the area, whilst contributing to the sense of arrival into the campus along St German's Road.

The other planning application is related to existing halls on the University of Exeter campus' Lower Argyll Road and aims to replace current halls with a larger building.

The current halls consist of 139 bedrooms, which would increase to 251 as and when the new development is complete.

The University argued the existing residence is coming to the end of its useful life and no longer meet student requirements for "modern, sustainable and affordable housing". As a result, the halls will be demolished and replaced with a high-quality, modern development.

464 Student Beds Planned for Cardiff

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A series of four interconnected blocks of student accommodation have been proposed on the junction of Newport Road and Fitzalan Place in Cardiff.

The four towers range between 11 and 32 storeys tall and have been earmarked at a site next to the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel.

In total, the development will consist of 464 student bedrooms.

Under the plans the five-storey Hallianans House will be demolished to make way for the new blocks, which will be a clad in a mix of lead, copper, graphite and zinc.

According to developers, the plans will "provide a landmark building of stand out quality and provide a distinctive and positive addition to the city's skyline."

Planning documents also indicate the blocks have been deliberately designed to be of varying heights in order to create a more elegant profile on the Cardiff skyline.

The designs also include space for a gym, study area, private dining room and a coffee shop on the ground floor.

After an initial consultation, the original plans were reduced in scale, bringing down the total number of beds from 550 to 464. A new outside public area was also added to the plans.

A report submitted to Cardiff planners indicates that existing tenants, which includes Howell Solicitors, will move elsewhere as the refurbishment of the current building was un-viable.

Student Accommodation Planned for Leicester City Centre

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TMDP Group has begun work on a multi-million-pound student accommodation project in the centre of Leicester.

The Leicestershire-based property and construction firm is to design and build a five-storey block of student housing on New Walk. The development will consist of 50 en-suite student apartments, a cinema room, multiple common areas, laundry room and a communal gym.

Under the plans the original roof and front elevation will be maintained to preserve the heritage and architectural integrity of the surrounding area.

Commenting on the development, managing director of TMDP Group, Scott Moore, said: "We're delighted to have been appointed by Zone to work on this project and are very pleased to see it get underway.

"TMDP Group has seen major growth over the last two years and currently has a record number of projects underway across the Midlands and in the buoyant London and South Eastern region of the country. Adding this prestigious project to our portfolio is another major boost to the company."

Mr Moore went on to add that Leicester is an expanding university city, with good quality student accommodation remaining in high demand. It's hoped the development's vicinity to both University of Leicester and De Montfort University will ensure the accommodation becomes some of the most sought after in the city.

If all goes to plan the project is due to be completed in April 2018 and will be open ahead of the 2018-19 academic year.

Developers Seek to Appeal Belfast Planning Application

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Developers behind plans to build a 620-bed student accommodation scheme in Belfast are to appeal the council's decision to refuse it permission.

The Northside Regeneration body and the former Department for Social Development (DSD) wanted to construct the building near Royal Avenue, located in the city centre.

The scheme formed part of a wider £300 million Belfast regeneration plan and would have also featured retail and leisure facilities.

However, DSD pulled out last year, saying developers "should no longer benefit from the potential use of the department's statutory powers".

The project was subsequently refused permission, but Northside Regeneration and Balfour Beatty are looking to appeal the decision, with a hearing scheduled for next month.

If the project had been given planning permission, it would have been located on Donegall Street. However, it was ruled the proposal contradicted the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan.

Under the area plan the site was earmarked for social housing, therefore if the project is permitted it would prevent the potential to deliver social housing. Concerns were also raised that the development could cause damage to the residential amenity for existing residences due to the inappropriate design, height, scale and massing.

Further barriers to the development include the possible impact the site may have on nearby listed buildings, including St Patrick's Church.

A number of student housing developments are already being built in the city, including a 740-bed scheme at College Avenue and a 317-bed scheme at Swanston Hall on the corner of Queen Street.

iQ Student Accommodation Plan 17-storey Sheffield Development

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iQ Student Accommodation has put forward plans to develop a 17-storey student accommodation block in Sheffield.

Situated on a car park in St George's Close and close to Sheffield University, the £15 million development will consist of 257 bedrooms.

The bedrooms will comprise a mix of 3, 4 and 5 bedroom non-ensuite apartments, 4 and 6 bedroom ensuite cluster flats, and single en-suite studios. The rooms will be split across 106 units of accommodation and each cluster flat will come with communal living areas.

Documents submitted as part of the planning application indicate that student accommodation has previously been deemed as acceptable for this location, which was confirmed in pre-application discussions with the City Council.

Developers also argued that the new student accommodation will help to increase footfall, further enhancing connectivity in the area. It's hoped the additional footfall will also stimulate additional regeneration of the local vicinity.

A decision is due on the development by Aug 16.

International Investors Remain Confident in Student Accommodation

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Research by industry specialists Savills suggests investment in student accommodation could reach £5.3 billion this year, an increase of 17% year-on-year.

The agency says the UK student sector is now an established global market able to attract international investment, which so far has been largely unaffected by Brexit.

According to Savills, international investors have nearly doubled their market share over the past few years, to 64% percent in 2016 from 35% in 2015.

Most of the investment is going into purpose-built accommodation projects, with 26% of the total value of international money coming from two Singaporean companies, Mapletree and GIC.

Commenting on the flow of investment from Singapore, director of Savills investment research and strategy Jacqui Daly, said: "Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC is one of the most experienced investors in the UK student housing sector. Their continued investment in 2016 is a massive vote of confidence in the sector."

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Britain's decision to leave the European Union appears to have had little impact on investor appetite. It's estimated that £2.1 billion of student housing stock traded in the second half of 2016, versus £1.9 billion in the first six months of the year.

This can be partly attributed to the countercyclical nature of the market, making it a good hedge against other risks. Furthermore, the devaluation of sterling has made UK student investment especially attractive to international investors.

Despite the positives, there is one area that investors should be wary of, and that's how international students are treated post Brexit.

Durham University Students Plan Protests Over Accommodation Costs

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Students at Durham University have launched a campaign against above-inflation price increases to college accommodation.

According to the students union (DSU), increasing accommodation costs are forcing students to live out of college and have been branded a "rip off".

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, president Alice Dee, said: "In the last few years we've seen decreases in students wanting to return to college and you can't separate that from the fact that the cost has gone up quite a lot.

"There's a lot of concern about the potential students from low income backgrounds who can't afford to come here and have the Durham experience."

Miss Dee also argued students were concerned about how expensive it is to live in college accommodation and the wider impact this has on Durham.

Research undertaken by the DSU suggests that of 12 universities analysed, Durham's budget accommodation was the highest priced this year when compared to its counterparts.

To date around 1,200 students have signed a petition calling for the university to review its fees. In particular, there are calls for the university to lower them to what they would have been if increases had been inflation linked over the last nine years.

If such measures were taken rooms would be priced at £5,775 per academic year for catered accommodation versus their current price of £6,940.

Responding to the campaign, Pro-vice Chancellor Owen Adams said: "The cost of providing our college residences rises year on year and we have to review prices on an annual basis to ensure we can continue to provide a high standard of accommodation and services. When reviewing our college residence charges, we consult extensively, including with student representatives."

Protests are due to be held outside the Bill Bryson Library on June 9.

Work Begins on £12m Leeds Scheme

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Work has begun on a new block of student accommodation on Cookridge Street in Leeds city centre.

Leeds-based YPP is developing the £12 million student scheme, which once complete will consist of 96 self-contained student apartments split across blocks of between six to eight storeys.

The plans have been designed by Brewster Bye Architects and in addition to the student flats, the building will have two ground floor retail units, a lounge, gym, cinema room and study area.

The site was previously home to a Walkabout bar, but was demolished to make way for the new purpose-built student accommodation.

If all goes to plan the development is due for completion in the summer of 2018, ahead of the 2018-19 academic year.

Commenting on the development, Omar Al-Nujaifi from YPP said: "Seeing work start on this major development is great news for everyone involved in the project as well as the Cookridge Street area as a whole, because it will breathe new life into a formerly derelict site that had stood empty for nearly four years."

According to Brewster Bye Architects, the development has been designed to offer some of the best student accommodation in Leeds and it's hoped the site will become one of the city's most sought after student addresses.

Guildford Borough Council Urged to Tackle Housing Crises

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The University of Surrey's students' union has argued that Guildford Borough Council must take immediate action to protect students from a potential housing crises.

This week Alex Mackenzie Smith, the Students' Union President, called on the council to tackle the Guildford housing crises.

Ms Mackenzie Smith reported to the council that students were having to endure appalling conditions from ruthless landlords who were acting with impunity throughout Guildford.

It was suggested to councillors that they adopt and endorse the student union's housing manifesto and that restrictions in the local plan on the placement of purpose-built student accommodation be lifted.

Leader of the Council, Paul Spooner, acknowledged the housing crises and argued that any new developments, including student housing, must have the supporting infrastructure in place.

The role of the university in the area was also recognised, with Mr Spooner saying: "I'm very pleased to hear you didn't blame the university because I think the university is a very positive thing for Guildford while it does of course bring challenges."

Various sites in Guildford have been earmarked for development, including Gosden Hill Farm in Merrow Lane as well as Blackwell farm.

The latest draft local plan, which proposes thousands of new homes is scheduled to go out for public consultation on June 9.

Student Flats Planned for Derelict Coventry Pub

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Plans have been put forward to transform a former pub in Coventry into student accommodation with 66 bedrooms.

Located in Foleshill the derelict pub sits next door to a nightclub and has lay vacant for seven years.

According to the application submitted to Coventry City Council the former pub has "been left to decay and ruin" and is currently of no "historical significance".

Developers hope the planned student accommodation will help to relieve housing pressures in the city by providing an alternative to living in private rented homes. It's also understood that in the coming years the restaurant adjacent to the site will be redeveloped helping to further rejuvenate the area.

Under the plans the student development will be five storeys tall and consist of cluster flats of between four and eight rooms. All rooms will come equipped with en-suites and each cluster will feature shared living spaces.

Residences will also be able to use the sheltered cycle storage, which will have space for an estimated 40 bicycles.

Concerns have been raised over the possible increase in crime if new flats are built in the area, with the West Midlands Police recommending a number of measures developers could use to protect against crime.