Bennett Construction Wins Major Dublin Project

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Global Student Accommodation (GSA) has appointed Bennett Construction as the contractor for a 591-bed student accommodation scheme in Dublin.

Situated in Brunswick Street, Dublin, the development is expected to create around 650 new jobs during its construction. A further 75 full time jobs will be created once the site is fully operational.

The purpose-built student accommodation will be operated by GSA and will come equipped with study and leisure spaces along with a gm, games room and cinema.

The site will also include 3,700 square metres of retail space.

Construction is due for completion by the middle of 2018, with the first set of students occupying the site from autumn of that year.

Commenting on the development, Aaron Bailey, Head of Construction Europe for GSA, said: "We are delighted to be commencing work on the Brunswick Street site and look forward to welcoming the first students through the doors next year.

"We are committed to supporting jobs for the local community and worked with the Grangegorman Development Agency to ensure full compliance with the local employment charter."

GSA has already committed EUR 250m worth of investment into student accommodation in Dublin.


Unite Acquires Development Site in Manchester

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Unite Group has acquired a development site in Manchester, subject to planning permission.

Situated in Manchester city centre and close to the University of Manchester, once complete the development is expected to accommodate around 450 students.

The acquisition of the site is expected to cost around £41 million and deliver a development yield in line with the group's target level of 8.0-8.5%.

The development will be funded internally and is anticipated to be delivered in time for the 2020 academic year.

The acquisition by Unite takes their total development pipeline to around 7,500 beds and if given the go ahead, will increase Unite's Manchester portfolio to 2,800 beds.

Commenting on the acquisition Richard Simpson, Group Property Director, said: "This acquisition extends our high-quality development programme in a strong regional location where there is growing demand for purpose built student accommodation. Manchester is a thriving student city which we expect to continue to attract high numbers of students. We look forward to working with the local Universities to help meet the strong demand for high-quality student accommodation."


Durham Accommodation Snapped up by Tier One Capital

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Tier One Capital has acquired a Durham student accommodation scheme in a deal worth £2.3m.

Purchased on behalf of developers, the Newcastle based company is deploying cash it raised within its TOC Property Backed Lending Trust which was floated last month.

Upon its flotation at the end of January it raised £17.3m, with a large proportion of the funds to be put towards 10 initial projects.

The first is the acquisition of the 34-bed student accommodation scheme at St Hilds, Durham, for Ryka Developments.

A spokesman for Ryka Developments said: "The forthcoming expansion of the Durham University campus in the immediate vicinity of St Hilds adds further attraction to an asset capable of producing long-term income for the next twenty years and beyond."

Set up in 2012, Tier One Capital has developed into an investment company supporting private and corporate clients, charities and trusts with a range of services including cash management, investments, estate planning and corporate finance.

The company's growth has recently surged with the launch of its TOC Property Backed Lending Trust, which it hopes to grow into a £500 million fund, with the money raised to be invested into the region’s growing property market.


Paris Attempts to Lure British Universities Overseas

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Oxford University has denied claims it is to open an overseas campus in response to Brexit.

The statement was released after reports emerged that French officials had spoken to senior staff at Oxford to propose a new 'satellite' base in Paris, with construction beginning as early as 2018.

However, Oxford University has dismissed the claims and a spokesman from the university said: "The university has received several constructive and helpful proposals from European colleagues since the Brexit vote. We are not, however, pursuing the model of a campus overseas."

It's understood informal talks have been held with several other UK universities, including Cambridge and Warwick, as part of an active campaign to lure British jobs to Paris.

The talks are said to have taken place in response to the UK's decision to leave the EU, as a campus in Paris, with French legal status, would allow a university to continue to benefit from EU funding.

The proposals suggest the creation of joint research laboratories and degree courses between British and French universities, on top of plans to relocate existing degrees and study programmes.

In addition, French officials are supposedly offering several institutions the chance to open a campus on the site of a development at the University of Paris-Seine to the north of Paris. The land would therefore effectively be free, although they would need to cover the costs associated with building labs and lecture theatres.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, a former director-general of the French ministry of education and now managing director of the highly regarded Essec Business School, confirmed that talks between a number of universities and the French government were taking place.

Mr Blanquer also suggested that although the UK government has said it will try to strike a deal to ensure British universities continue to participate in EU research projects, in the medium term they will inevitably be squeezed out.


Council to Decide on Cambridge Student Accommodation Policy

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Student accommodation in Cambridge is to be discussed this week with Cambridge City Council to decide on whether to allow proposed changes to the emerging Local Plan.

A report commissioned for the city council has suggested an increasing need for student accommodation in the city.

Although the report revealed that the University of Cambridge accommodates much of its students in university-owned housing, Anglia Ruskin University and other institutions have very little directly-owned accommodation. As a result, students are more likely to live in privately owned halls, shared housing or the family home.

The council's assessment of the study's findings is that the current strategy for student accommodation is largely appropriate but could be improved to address the need for market and social housing, as well as student accommodation.

The report said: "It is recognised that this is a fluid situation, and that there is likely to be a continuing strong supply of new student housing in the city, prompted by the financial attractiveness of this form of development.

However, in part this attractiveness arises out of the level of unsatisfied demand for such accommodation. At this stage, the evidence falls short of proving that there does not remain a need for purpose-built student housing, especially to improve the choice and opportunities for ARU students."

Due to the study, the council will propose some changes to the Local Plan, including the need to confirm that all student accommodation schemes are formally tied to a particular educational institution, which has specific accommodation needs.

The report also proposes the creation of a working group made up from council officers and representatives of higher education institutions, in order to monitor student accommodation and work together.


Stepnall Awarded Multi-million Pound Student Contract

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The construction company Stepnall has won the contract to build a multi-million pound student accommodation development in the centre of Leicester.

Designed by MAS Architecture, the four-storey student accommodation block in Princess Road East, is just a five-minute walk from the University of Leicester and within easy reach of De Montfort University.

The student block will consist of 110 self-contained studio bedrooms each fitted with an en-suite bathroom. The site will also come equipped with a basement communal area, including a cinema room and a private gym.

Work on the site has already begun and the site is expected to be operational in time for the start of the academic year in September.

Stepnell operations and commercial manager Thomas Sewell said of the site: "This development will create outstanding student accommodation within a few minutes' walk of the University of Leicester.

"Our team has a strong record of successfully delivering high-profile construction projects for the higher education sector and we are excited to bring that expertise to this important scheme."


Derby Student Scheme Set for Refusal

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Plans to build more student accommodation in the centre of Derby look set to be refused on the grounds it would negatively impact the city's heritage.

ALB Group, which is in the process of converting St Peter's House, in Gower Street, from offices to apartments, had put forward plans to build a 65-bed student block in its grounds.

Under the plans the development would consist of a five-storey building situated near to the St Peter's Churchyard entrance to St Peter's House.

The application submitted by developers, said: "The importance of the site in terms of its heritage status and location within the city have been important aspects that have driven the design. The site is within the Green Lane conservation area and is a designated open space but we feel the development outweighs the loss of the green open space by bringing vitality to this area of the city, which will strengthen and improve pedestrian flows to the shopping area, which will undoubtedly improve trade for existing shops, restaurants and bars."

However, planning officers have recommended the application is refused on the grounds it is "considered an unacceptable form of development".

In particular, the officers report highlighted that the plans would have a significant and irreversible impact on the character and setting of a number of heritage assets as well as the loss of protected trees.


Hundreds of Student Beds Planned for Chester

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Developers behind plans to build a 379-bed student housing scheme in Chester will name the site after the railway engineer Thomas Brassey if the application is successful.

Situated on the railway station car park next to Hoole bridge, the plans have been submitted by Jansons Property.

The company wants its building to be named after Thomas Brassey, a 19th century railway builder who was born in Buerton, near Chester, and educated at The King's School.

He built Chester Railway Station, which opened in 1848 and is responsible for around a third of the railway lines laid in this country.

The proposals include a single modern building with apartments fronting Hoole Way and have been specifically designed to appeal to students attending the University of Chester. The development will also come equipped with its own on-site gym and cinema.

According to Jansons, the scheme will bring economic benefits to the city as a result of increased spending in the local economy.

Commenting on the plans, Ben Roberts from Jansons Property, said: "Thomas Brassey had an extraordinary career in which he rose to become the greatest builder of railways the world has ever known. Therefore, we feel it is right to mark his contribution in this way by proposing to name our new student development after him.

"However, whilst it is important to celebrate the contribution made by Mr Brassey, we stand committed to supporting academic institutions in nurturing the next generation of engineers, providing them with first class student accommodation.

"That is why we are bringing forward our proposals for Chester, which are a step above anything else currently on offer or planned in the city."

If given the green light the proposed student accommodation will bring back into use a key gateway brownfield site, which has been vacant for 10 years and is only being used as a temporary car park.


Student Accommodation Earmarked for Former Liverpool Police Station

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Plans have been submitted to Liverpool City Council that call for the demolition of the former police station in Copperas Hill and replacing it with purpose-built student accommodation.

Proposals put forward by Study Inn Ltd outline the plans to replace the police office with a six-storey student accommodation development.

The police station was officially decommissioned two years ago, after it was deemed to be surplus to requirements by Merseyside Police.

When the station was in use it was reportedly one of the busiest police stations outside of London.

Although the planning application doesn't outline how many student beds the development would include, the company operates various assets across the country and in many cases each site has hundreds of student beds.

Study Inn appears to have plans to expand into additional locations throughout the UK. According to the company website further accommodation is scheduled for Glasgow, Huddersfield, Bristol, Bournemouth and Cardiff.


Preston Planners Approve Two Student Schemes

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Preston's planning committee have given the go ahead for two student accommodation developments in the city.

The developments include 190 student apartments, which will be constructed off Garstang Road and a 218-bed student block to be built just off Moor Lane.

Dubbed Innovation House, the new student accommodation off Sizer Street and Moor Lane was proposed by Ladson Group and will consist of two four-storey buildings.

The development will result in part of the former biscuit factory located on the site being torn down to make way for the new purpose-built student accommodation.

According to Ladson Group, the student flats are needed to meet the demand created by the University of Central Lancashire's £200 million masterplan for the Preston Campus.

Commenting on the development, group director, Guy Ladson, said: "We are delighted to develop a run down site right on the edge of the university campus to create much needed high quality student accommodation."

The plans were unanimously approved after planning officers previously recommended them for approval.

Meanwhile plans for Canterbury Hall in Garstang Road were also approved and will result in the construction of a five storey block being built alongside the Unicorn pub. In addition to the 190 student beds, the building will also come equipped with study areas, a gym, roof terrace and storage space for bikes.