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."

CCG Complete 234-bed Edinburgh Development

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CCG has completed the construction of a new student accommodation block located in the centre of Edinburgh.

The student development consists of 234 beds and is situated on Orwell Terrace in the Dalry district of the city centre and will be used solely by students attending Edinburgh Napier University.

According to the company, the development is "ideally suited" for student living due to its close proximity to many local amenities, including supermarkets and a sports centre. The facility also has extensive traffic links that feed directly into some of the University's campuses and wider parts of the city and beyond.

The purpose-built student accommodation has been designed as three separate blocks reaching four storeys to the north east, and to the south east. A seven-storey rotunda ensures the building has a distinctive presence.

Those students living in the premises will be able to benefit from modern interiors and comfortable living spaces and bedrooms will typically be arranged in clusters of 4-9 rooms, each with its own en-suite shower and shared living spaces.

Alastair Wylie, Chairman and CEO of CCG said: "Orwell Terrace is a modern development for the modern student, ideally located in order for young people to benefit from their studies as well as the city of Edinburgh."

Mr Wylie continued, saying: "Student housing is in high demand and a growing market for CCG. This is the third student housing project to be completed by the Group in the last two years and we look forward to growing this side of the business further in the years ahead."

Empiric Agrees Forward Funding for Three Leicester Projects

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Empiric Student Property has agreed three forward funded projects with an undisclosed Leicester-based property company to develop a number of student flats in Leicester.

At a total cost of £16 million, 134 New Walk and 140-142 New Walk will be developed alongside the Empiric's recently acquired asset situated at 136-138 New Walk. The Victorian terrace properties will be converted and extended to create a series of student houses stretching from 134-142 New Walk.

The student accommodation development at 134 New Walk will comprise of 16 studios, while 140-142 New Walk will include 42 studios and three 2-bed apartments. In total, Empiric will own 94 beds from 134 to 142 New Walk.

The three assets will be managed and marketed through the Hello Student brand, with 134 New Walk expected to be up and running by May 2017, in time for the 2017/18 academic year. The additional two properties are expected to be ready by May 2018, ready for the 2018/19 academic year.

Chief executive of Empiric Student Property, Paul Hadaway, said: "Following this acquisition, the Group will own 730 beds in Leicester, targeting both the University of Leicester and De Monfort University, with some 30,600 full-time students. The Group's existing operating properties have a strong lettings history and are all fully let for the 2016/17 academic year. This acquisition is in line with Empiric's investment criteria."

Oxford Brookes University Needs to Build More Accommodation

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After a surge in demand for places at Oxford Brookes University, officials have pledged to review their student accommodation portfolio to make sure they stay within Oxford City Council Guidelines.

Under council rulings the university can have a maximum of 3,000 of its students living in the wider Oxford community, meaning the university has a responsibility to house the rest. In recent years though student numbers have soared, leading to almost 4,000 students currently living in private housing in the city.

Bob Price, a leader in the council said the following, "Oxford City Council’s Local Plan has a limit of 3,000 students living out in the community, as opposed to student accommodation, and if that cap is breached, the city council can choose not to grant planning permission for new teaching accommodation. Brookes are at about 3,800, but this doesn’t affect (the cap) at all. A new engineering department would be affected, but they have lots of plans for expanding student accommodation. By 2019 they will have another 1,300 student units."

Oxford Brookes University spokesman Natalie Gidley has reassured the council that the university 'remains committed' to sticking within its guidelines and doing its bit for student accommodation in the city.