Empiric Adds Another York Asset to Its Portfolio

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Empiric Student Property has purchased the land and entered into a forward-funded development agreement for a 106-bed student accommodation scheme in York.

The Percy's Lane development will cost a total of £9.2 million and will involve the demolition of existing buildings on the site and the construction of a new premium purpose-built student accommodation block.

The scheme will consist of a mix of studios and one, three and five bedroom apartments, as well as six bedroom townhouses and communal facilities.

Construction is expected to begin in May, with completion of the site scheduled in time for the 2018/19 academic year.

The property is situated close to Empiric's Lawrence Road development and the recently purchased Foss Studios.

Foss Studios was bought by Empiric earlier in the week for £23.3 million and consists of 220 studio rooms split across three buildings. The development is currently managed by Fresh Student Living but will be integrated onto the Group's Hello Student operating platform at the end of March 2017.

Empiric Chief Executive Paul Hadaway said of the latest scheme: "As a result of these transactions, the group will own a total of 441 beds in York, some 2% of the local full-time student population. The design of the self-contained apartments is in line with our "townhouse" concept, providing students with a group living environment with all the benefits of purpose-built student accommodation."

Crosslane Submits 583-bed Plans for Coventry

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Plans have been submitted to Coventry City Council to develop a 19-storey student accommodation block close to the city centre.

Situated on Friar's Road, the scheme has been put forward by Manchester-based Crosslane Student Developments.

The proposed scheme consists of 583-beds and sits on Friar's Road at the junction with St Patrick's Road, within the ring road on the south side of Coventry city centre. The substantial student housing development would comprise of 140 studios and 443 en-suite cluster flats with communal areas and will also come equipped with a common room, study room, gym, cinema and kitchen-dining entertaining room.

Crosslane Group said it had chosen the particular site because of its close proximity to the Coventry University Campus, as well as the city centre and train station. The company added that its interest in the city was primarily due to Coventry University being the fastest growing university in the UK by student enrolment.

With the university announcing major investment in its facilities over the next five years, Crosslane expects applications at the university to further increase.

Mike Moran, development manager for Crosslane Student Developments, said: "Crosslane is delighted to have submitted its first planning application for a student accommodation development in Coventry.

"The proposed scheme is right in the heart of the city centre and a short walk to Coventry University. At 583 beds, the scheme would be a significant contribution to easing the supply-demand fundamentals, which persist for purpose-built student accommodation in the city."

If the proposals go ahead, upon completion the new block will be managed by Prime Student Living, which already manages student accommodation across the country.

Cambridge Council Undertakes Extensive Student Housing Study

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A comprehensive study commissioned by Cambridge City Council has shed light on student accommodation in the city.

The study will be used by the council and its partners to guide future student accommodation developments.

The report shows that in 2015-16, there were an estimated 46,132 students in Cambridge with a need for some form of student housing.

It also found that the University of Cambridge accommodated a high proportion of its students in university owned accommodation, while Anglia Ruskin University and other institutions had very little directly-owned accommodation. As a result, students at these institutions were more likely to stay in privately owned halls, shared housing or the parental home.

The assessment found the current strategy for student accommodation, which is laid out in the emerging Local Plan, is largely appropriate, but could be tweaked to strengthen the commitment to addressing the need for market and social housing, as well as student accommodation.

As a result of the study, the council is looking to make some changes to the Local Plan, to ensure that all student accommodation developments are directly linked to a particular educational institution, which has specific student housing needs.

The report also suggested the formation of a working group, consisting of council officers and representatives of higher education institutions, in order to effectively monitor student accommodation.

Councillor Kevin Blencowe, said of the report: "We recognise that there has been an increasing number of planning applications for student accommodation in Cambridge in recent years. The aim of this study was to provide us with greater understanding of student accommodation supply and demand in the city.

"This study means we have a clearer picture of student accommodation needs both now and in the future, which will help us plan how best to accommodate our student population, who are an important part of life in the city."

Mr Blencowe is to recommend the proposed modifications to the emerging Local Plan are considered by the Development Plan Scrutiny Sub Committee on 25 January.

SNP Encourage Feedback on Number of Glasgow Developments

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The public is being asked to comment on the amount of student housing being built in Glasgow.

SNP MSP Sandra White is to hold a public meeting to gather feedback and opinion on the growing number of student developments in the city centre and the West End.

According to Ms White, the city is being swamped with student accommodation. However, Glasgow City Council say students form 13% of the city's population, making a great contribution to the city's economy and that the rising number of developments reflect their growing numbers.

Among the developments planned is a 100-bed scheme on the site of a former playground at Kelvinhaugh Primary in Gilbert Street. A proposed scheme in the Trongate area has also been submitted and calls for the construction of 586 student rooms, representing one of the city's largest housing developments ever.

Commenting on the applications Sandra White said: "Every single piece of spare land in the West End and the city centre is being taken up by student accommodation.
What do we want Glasgow to turn into? Do we want Glasgow to end up like St Andrews, which is like a ghost town at the end of semesters?

"These are profiting businesses. They don't pay community tax or council tax. It's about time we actually looked closely at Glasgow City Council plans."

The MSP suggested instead that the city should be trying to bring families into the city centre, creating more social housing. Ms White hopes to finalise plans to hold a public meeting in the next few days.

Belfast Student Accommodation Approved

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A major student accommodation development in Belfast was given the go ahead this week.

The 307-bed development on York Street, adjacent to the new Ulster University campus, was approved by Belfast City Council on Tuesday.

The 11-storey block brings the total number of student beds approved by the Council since it took over planning powers in April 2015 to around 5,500.

Under the plans the vacant building on the site will be demolished to make way for the new student housing. Designed by architects Robinson McIlwaine, the proposals also encompass three retail outlets and a gym.

The plans had originally been for a 14-storey development, but were subsequently reduced in scale.

Developers suggested the project represents a "stylish landmark" and it could be worth around £30m. They also expect to create around 250 construction jobs during the two-year build period.

Planners said of the scheme: "Having regard to the policy context and other material considerations above, the proposal is considered acceptable and planning permission should be approved, as the building reflects the scale and size of other surrounding structures."

Many of the student developments already given the green light are located in and around the York Street area, close to the new Ulster University Campus.

Glasgow's Oldest Pub to Make Way for Student Housing

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Glasgow's oldest pub is under threat of demolition after an application was submitted for new student accommodation in the city centre.

The plans call for the construction of a 12-storey block to be located on the junction of High Street, Duke Street and George Street, with a total of 326 cluster flats and 100 self-contained studios. Because of the development, the Old College bar situated at 219 High Street would be flattened.

The pub is said to have opened in the early 19th century before being granted its licence in 1812, and has remained in place ever since. Despite its history, the Old College Bar remains unlisted, although the planning application submitted in December does note that it is within a conservation area.

Developers Structured House have described the bar and its surrounding buildings as "detrimental to surroundings visually, economically and in urban design terms" suggesting the student development will "enhance the existing character or the conservation area".

The application will now go before Glasgow City Council with a decision expected by mid-February.

At the same time The Press Bar on Albion Street also faces demolition. The bar was once the favoured establishment for the city's journalists, including those from the Daily Express, the Herald and Evening times, which were previously situated in neighbouring properties.

Newcastle Councillors to Vote on Tighter Building Controls

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Councillors in Newcastle have been urged to approve a plan which aims to bring greater control over the number of student flats being built in the city.

At the same time, Newcastle City Council's planning committee are assessing a pair of new student accommodation blocks, which if approved would lead to a further 451 student bedrooms being built across Ouseburn and the city centre.

After six weeks of consultation with businesses, experts and residents, the council's cabinet will decide this week on whether to amend its 'Maintaining Sustainable Communities' policy which councillors argue will protect the city centre from excessive purpose-built student accommodation.

If the plans go ahead, developers will need to demonstrate their conversion or new build won't lead to an over-concentration of such developments that "could be harmful to the area's vibrancy, environmental quality and residential amenity".

The design and quality of the buildings will also be more stringently checked. In particular, purpose-built student accommodation will need to show it could be suitable for conversion into more traditional homes, to prevent the city being lumbered with empty buildings should demand for student housing change.

The council adopted a similar policy in 2011, introducing new rules to limit the number of homes in areas like Jesmond being converted to flats aimed at students.

Subsequently a boom in purpose-built accommodation close to the city centre has resulted in 9,500 new beds being created since 2007, with planning permission for more than 5,000 additional beds.

The updated policy still aims to protect areas where family homes could be built, with greater controls on the creation of large student blocks.

Ged Bell, cabinet member for investment and development said of the proposals: "Clearly now is the time to update our policies, and it's vitally important we are able to provide the right type of accommodation to suit the needs of all the communities we serve, to make sure Newcastle is an attractive place to study, live and work."

The University of London Invests £150m in New Accommodation

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The University of London is to build a 33-storey student accommodation block in Stratford, representing the first property acquisition by the university in half a century.

The £150 million building named Duncan House, was bought in partnership with University Partnership Programmes and will consist of 511 student bedrooms as well as communal space.

Chris Cobb, pro vice-chancellor and chief operating officer of the University of London, said: "This is an exciting and significant investment for the University. It's the first major property that we've acquired in 50 years and the first outside of central London.

"This investment continues our trajectory of offering students quality accommodation which balances affordability with low travel times to their place of study."

Mr Cobb also indicated that this latest development highlights their continued commitment to modernise and expand their property portfolio to meet the needs of future generations of students.

Sean O'Shea, group chief executive officer of UPP, added: "The University of London is a world-renowned institution and we are delighted to have reached financial close on this landmark transaction in east London.

"Located in the heart of Stratford, this exciting scheme will offer future generations of students' competitively priced accommodation and facilities of the highest quality."

2,000-bed Application Submitted for Penryn

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Developers have submitted plans to create a 2,000-bed student village at Treluswell near Penryn.

Development company Ocean Reach Ltd has applied for outline planning permission to build a mixed-use site, named Penvose Student Village.

Located on 20 hectares of land between Treluswell Hill and the A39, the development would consist of student accommodation able to house 2,000 students along with up to 400 student parking spaces. The site will also come equipped with a 450-place park-and-ride, sports facilities and a student commercial area including shops, restaurants, university office space and a GP surgery.

If given the go ahead the site, which encircles a group of houses by the A39, would require a new roundabout access from the road. There will also be improved cycle routes to the campus and Penryn town centre via Treliever.

According to the design and access statement submitted as part of the application, the village would provide "essential infrastructure" to support the university, as well as "significant employment opportunities".

CAD Architects acting on behalf of the developers said: "The proposed development seeks to present a modern, efficient and exemplary student village development which is highly respectful of its semi-rural/open countryside setting, seeking to minimise the impact of the scheme on the local landscape both spatially and visually."

The application is set to be determined by April 13.

Exeter PBSA Goes Ahead Despite Objections

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The approval of a student accommodation block in Exeter has sparked a debate into whether the city needs such developments.

The development in question is that of the former pub in Paris Street, which will be demolished and replaced by a six-storey block with 107 bedrooms. It will also include a private gym, cinema, laundry room and common room.

Despite the application receiving 38 objections and a 2,297-signature petition against the plans, councillors on the planning committee voted to allow the scheme.

Some have argued whether the recent growth in purpose-built student accommodation is necessary, whilst others say it helps take the pressure off the city's existing housing stock.

A University of Exeter spokesman said: "As a world-leading university, Exeter attracts students and staff from around the world, and they contribute significantly to the local economy and the community.

"We are working to accommodate more students on campus. In recent years we have built £130 million worth of new accommodation for 2,600 students. New developments are planned on the Streatham Campus which will provide accommodation for around 1,500 students.

The university continued, saying: "Decisions on whether private developments for student-focused accommodation within the city are appropriate are for the relevant planning authority to make, having taken into consideration the views of local residents."

A planning officer's report, recommending the approval of the development, indicated that despite the objections raised, the university's growth plans mean "significantly" more additional bedrooms will be required and therefore applications for purpose-built student accommodation should be welcomed on appropriate sites.