Student Developments Driving Out Coventry's Businesses

Posted by Richard Ward in

One of Coventry's oldest companies has raised concerns over the amount of student accommodation being built in the city centre.

Estate agents and auctioneers Loveitts believe businesses are being forced out and is urging on developers to do more to get the balance right.

A director at the company has appealed to firms developing projects in the city centre not to neglect other sectors at a time when the focus is on delivering an increasing number of student bedrooms.

Loveitts are concerned this is leading to a loss of traditional office space, which is inevitably force existing office occupiers out of the city centre and potentially out of Coventry itself.

Despite the concerns, John Pugh, a director of the firm, accepts the need for student accommodation due to increased demand. He commented: "Obviously, the importance of the student sector is recognised with Coventry offering two first class universities, with more than 20,000 new students from over 140 countries making Coventry and Warwickshire their home this year."

However, Mr Pugh argued that a greater mix of developments is needed to ensure sustainable growth. He added: "There are numerous commercial enterprises which favour a city centre location as often they are dealing with general members of the public - estate agents, accountants and solicitors being a case in point, amongst many others."

"A hybrid approach to city centre developments will lead to sustainable growth for all stakeholders."


Cardiff University Appoint Bouygues to Deliver Innovation Campus

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Cardiff University has signed a deal with Bouygues UK Limited to build the next phase of the university's Innovation Campus that will create more than 60 jobs, apprenticeships and placements.

Cardiff Innovation Campus (CIC) will provide cutting-edge facilities that help researchers, students and industry work together to build enterprises that create products, spin-outs, start-ups and social enterprises.

Bouygues UK Limited has a record of urban regeneration and will develop an abounded railway yard into the new campus.

Work on the site will create immediate jobs in construction and other associated trades. Once opened, CIC will be about to house hundreds of academic researches, students and university staff all working alongside those from the private and public sectors to exploit new ideas.

Located at Maindy Park, the campus will feature two centres of innovation. The first will house SPARK, the world's first social science research park, and the Innovation Centre, providing a space for start-ups spin-outs and partnerships. The other will be home to two world leading scientific establishments - the Institute for Compound Semiconductors and Cardiff Catalysis Institute.

Commenting on the development, Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University, said: "Cardiff Innovation Campus is right at the heart of our long-term commitment to build social and economic prosperity in Wales for the benefit of all. We are delighted to be working with Bouygues UK to create a 'Home of Innovation' that unlocks the power of research. CIC will create jobs, act as a crucible for ideas, and allow future generations of students with great ideas to find new ways of tackling pressing global problems."

Cardiff University is in the process of transforming its estate to ensure its fit for the 21st Century. CIC is due to be completed by 2021.


Students Graduate From Online Courses

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The first batch of students have graduated from online MBA and MSc programmes at the University of Birmingham.

The courses have been developed with support of Wiley Education Services and are designed to meet the challenges of teaching in a digital environment.

The first graduates mark a significant achievement for Wiley Education Services, as the collaboration with the University of Birmingham is the first of its kind outside of the United States.

Commenting on the courses, Professor Robin Mason, University of Birmingham Pro-Vice Chancellor (International), said: "Congratulations to all our online graduates - they are at the forefront of digital learning and have benefited from the University of Birmingham's teaching expertise through a programme allowing them more effectively to combine work and study."

"Our collaboration with Wiley Education Services has enabled us to deliver bespoke online learning programmes that we believe will change the way people access Higher Education."

"Employers and industry now see the benefits of learning being delivered online. With more flexible and credible modes of delivery available to them, I'm delighted that in this way, we can give more people the opportunity to develop and gain qualifications with the University of Birmingham."

The Online MBA is the first in the world to receive formal accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA), with previous accredited courses requiring a residential component. However, the Birmingham MBA is the first to be delivered completely online, making it easier for those trying to balance postgraduate study and professional life.


Accommodation Earmarked for New UA92 University

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An updated planning application has been submitted calling for Warwick House to be developed into 201 student flats under the UA92 Student Living brand.

Warwick House office is bounded by Talbot Road and Warwick Road and had previously been earmarked for development into 80 apartments. However, a new planning application has been submitted to extend the five-storey building by three, enabling the site to house 201 student apartments.

The purpose-built student accommodation will provide bed spaces for those at the nearby UA92 University, which is due to open in the former Kellogg's office opposite Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

Warwick House marks the second student accommodation block set aside for UA92, after it was confirmed that Charlton House will be converted to student flats.

Under the plans the existing building will be converted into 140 student units, while a neighbouring plot will be set aside for a potential new-build project.

Blue Sky Architects are working on both sets of proposals with both developments due to be ready in time for the 2019-20 academic year, when UA92 is due to open.

UA92 will operate as a branch of Lancaster University when it opens and has been backed by Bruntwood, Trafford Council, and the former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville.

The Kellogg's building is the first proposal brought forward to house UA92 after an outline masterplan was submitted last year.


Planners Back Huge Nottingham Scheme

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A huge student accommodation development located in Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, has been recommended for approval by Nottingham City Council.

Under the plans, buildings on the site will be demolished to make room for a student accommodation scheme varying in heights, up to a maximum of 8 storeys.

Plans have been drawn up by Aspbury Planning Limited and consist of cluster apartments, twin clusters, studios and townhouses. In total the scheme will provide 301 student bedrooms.

The development will also come equipped with communal amenities and study areas, a front reception, a laundry room, and cycle storage.

Documents submitted as part of the application said: "The application site is conveniently located within a short walking distance of Nottingham Trent University campus and the city centre amenities."

"It is considered that the provision of good quality purpose-built accommodation in this location will attract students that could otherwise occupy houses of multiple occupation outside of the city centre."

"The student management plan includes a commitment to work proactively with the local community, including 24 hour on-site management and community liaison. It is considered that appropriate measures have been identified within the student management plan to minimise any impact of the student accommodation use on the local community."

The scheme will be designed by Birmingham-based architects Glen Howells.


Watkin Jones Starts Work on Huge Coventry Scheme

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Construction work has commenced on a huge 778-bed student accommodation complex in Coventry.

Whitefriars Lane will be completely transformed once the new development is finished. The site is set to cover almost half a hectare of brownfield land on the edge of the ring road, which sits opposite the university's new Health and Science Building.

Developer Watkin Jones are hoping that construction work will be complete by the summer of 2020 in time for the start of the new academic year. The development will consist of two 18 and 16-storey towers, separated by a central landscaped courtyard. The scheme will also feature a roof terrace on the 12th floor of one of the towers.

Under the original plans two 13 and 17-storey tower blocks were proposed, however these were subsequently increased in scale to their current size. This led to criticism with the council's conservation officer suggesting the building would be too big for its location.

Watkin Jones announced a resolution to grant planning permission was issued in March, however the official planning decision is still pending according to Coventry City Council's website.


Hundreds of More Student Beds Earmarked for Lewes Road

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Plans have been revealed for another block of student housing off Lewes Road in Brighton.

An application has been put forward for the replacement of Enterprise Point on Melbourne Street, which includes 350 student bedrooms, commercial co-working space and affordable housing.

The plans have only just been announced, but Vita Group said it would release further details in due course.

Commenting on the proposed development, Michele Steel, Strategic Planning Director from Vita Group said: "We have an opportunity to create a really outstanding development here which will support a thriving little community area of Brighton, including Saint Martin's School and attractive, well kept homes and apartments, currently residing next to Enterprise Point, which has become increasingly derelict over the past few years."

"We look forward to working with our neighbours and the city to develop designs which deliver something very special at this largely unknown, but substantial site off Lewes Road in Brighton."

The 1950s six-storey office building was in use until the mid-1990s and then converted into a multi-use business centre and was also used as the home for the Access to Music college.

An exhibition showcasing the plans will be held this week.


Huge £300m Development Planned for Nottingham

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An outline planning application has been submitted to Nottingham City Council for the construction of offices, residential housing, student accommodation and a variety of leisure and other uses.

The application outlines plans to build 900 homes, around 700 student flats, and more than 630,000 sq ft of office space.
The plans have an estimated development value of £300m and will make use of the 40-acre site formerly used by Boots as its headquarters.

The application has been put forward by AIM-listed Conygar Investments, who are working with regeneration specialist Lavignac Securities to deliver the site, which lies between Manvers Street at the bottom of Sneinton and London Road.

Commenting on the application, Christopher Ware of Conygar Investment Company, said: "Since purchasing the site, we have been carefully considering our plans for this high-profile site; it has seen a number of false dawns over the years and we have been working hard to ensure that our plans are realistic and will allow us to deliver an achievable scheme that will benefit Nottingham."

"We know how significant this site is for Nottingham and we are committed to delivering a scheme which is not only unique to the city but the UK."

The site has been vacant for 20 years and it's hoped the development will breathe new life into the area.


Aberystwyth Employability on the Rise

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Figures from Aberystwyth University indicate that more students than ever are getting good jobs after graduating.

The latest results released as part of the Higher Education Statistics Agency's annual Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, shows 96.8% of UK and EU full-time first-degree graduates were either in work or in further study six months after graduating.

The data from Aberystwyth University also shows that 78.2% of UK and EU full-time first-degree graduates in employment or further study were in professional level jobs or graduate level further study.

Departments that performed particularly well include Computer Sciences, with 98.2% of graduates in work or further study six months after graduating, as well as History and Welsh History (99.4%) and Welsh (100%).

Commenting on the figures Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice Chancellor at Aberystwyth University said: "At Aberystwyth University our aim is to empower students to unlock their own potential and to develop as independent learners in a supportive, inclusive and creative bilingual community. "

"Preparing them for their journey beyond university and with the skills employers are looking for is integral to the experience we provide, as we embed employability skills across our range of programmes, including opportunities for work experience, volunteering, international experience and other transferable skills. All of these elements add to the excellent value of an Aberystwyth University degree, which is reflected in these latest figures published by HESA."


Unite Group Reports Continued Growth in Its Portfolio Valuations

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The Unite Group has released its latest trading statement for the period ending 30 June, reporting continued growth in its portfolio valuations.

The company has seen the value of its UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) increase by 1.2% during the quarter to £2,315. The USAF portfolio now consists of 71 properties split across 23 University towns and cites in the UK.

Meanwhile, the London Student Accommodation Joint Venture (LSAV) was independently valued at £1,204 million, representing an increase of 2.5% compared to the previous quarter. The LSAV portfolio consists of 8,477 beds across 13 properties in London, as well as the Aston Student Village in Birmingham.

The company has attributed the increase in valuations to rental growth and an average two basis point yield compression in USAF and six basis points of yield compression in LSAV. Each portfolio has an average blended yield of 5.4% and 4.6% respectively.

For the 2018-19 academic year the company has achieved an 89% reservation rate, which is in line with the same point of time last year.

Commenting on the results, Joe Lister, Unite Students Chief Financial Officers, said: "Reservations for 2018/19 continue to perform strongly, in line with prior year, demonstrating the continued demand for our rooms and services. The strong performance is driven by our focus on long term partnerships with high quality Universities and our investment in locations where demand for purpose-built student accommodation is the strongest."


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