Nottingham Trent Proposes Office Space for Former Indian Restaurant

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Nottingham Trent University have submitted plans to build a 16,300 sq ft office building on the site of a former Indian restaurant on Goldsmith Street.

If approved, the offices would be able to accommodation 200 people on the site of the demolished former Posh Spice building at 23 Goldsmith Street, located next to Rescue Rooms and Stealth.

Nottingham Trent University says it wants to build the office space to "further cement the university's profile in the area."

Commenting on the application, director of estates and resources for Nottingham Trent University, Ged O'Donoghue, said: "Nottingham Trent University is keen to regenerate the site and we have submitted planning permission for the construction of a new building. We are in the process of drawing up detailed proposals for its future use, which could include office and teaching space."

Architects CPMG have been designated as designing the development and suggested take up for office space had been constrained due to the lack of quality A grade office space. This has resulted in a requirement of 250,000 sq ft.

They also said: "If there is to be continued growth within these sectors and other office based industries it is essential that there is a continued investment into grade A office space. Under investment in this area could lead to Nottingham losing its position as a regional centre for business and being unable to compete with other Core Cities such as Bristol, Leeds and Manchester."

Keele University Seeks an Additional 1,400 Student Beds

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Keele University is looking to make a significant investment into student housing as part of a major transformation project.

Plans have been submitted to increase the amount of on campus student accommodation in Keele to just over 4,330 from the current 2,886.

The proposals call for the demolition of several of the university's current student halls including Lindsay, Horwood and Barnes. In its place, new student accommodation will be joined by three social hubs as well as a new music and teaching facility, medical facility and facilities for Keele Postgraduate Association.

In partnership with UPP Projects Ltd, Keele University is seeking planning permission to demolish 366 student bed-spaces at Barnes Hall and the erection of seven new halls of residence, consisting of cluster flats and townhouse blocks, which will provide 617 new student beds.

At Horwood Hall the plans call for the demolition of 266 student beds and the construction of 13 new halls. This will include the construction of seven cluster flat blocks and six townhouse blocks. In total 915 new student beds will be created.

Finally, at Lindsay Hall, 241 student beds will be demolished, which will be replaced by 10 new halls of residence consisting of seven cluster flat blocks and three townhouse blocks. In total the development will add a further 814 beds.

In addition to the new student housing, the project will seek to remodel some of the retained accommodation.

A planning statement submitted as part of the application, said: "The university's brief is to expand and enhance its residential portfolio.

"The scale of the re-development, covering a considerable proportion of the university's campus, means that it will be a transformational project.

"The overall residential project is an opportunity to increase the amount and improve the quality of the accommodation offer on campus.

"It is also an opportunity to update the existing residential stock, providing a balance of accommodation types."

The university currently has around 10,000 students enrolled, but their 2020 strategy will seek to increase this to 13,000. As a result there is expected to be increasing demand for affordable campus accommodation in Keele.

The £150 million scheme has backing from city planners and is expected to be approved at a meeting this week.

Peers Vote to Remove International Students from Migration Targets

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Peers have voted in favour of removing international students out of the UK's net migration targets.

Representing a significant blow to the prime minister, peers backed an amendment from Lord Hannay of Chiswick which sated that students should not be treated for public policy purposes, as a long-term migrant to the UK, for the duration of their studies.

The amendment received strong support and was passed by 313 votes to 219 in the upper chamber on 13 March.

The Prime Minister Theresa May has previously ignored calls from the higher education sector to remove international students from net migration numbers, seemingly in an attempt to meet their pledge of bringing the figures down into the tens of thousands.

The current stance on international students has been blamed for a fall in recruitment from markets such as India, which has seen numbers half since 2010. Meanwhile competing countries such as the US, Canada and Australia, have seen their intake of Indian students explode.

Lord Lucas, a Conservative peer, argued the change is required as the Home Office was in theory the sales desk for international applicants to UK universities. He suggested the website was "antagonistic" and therefore deterred some potential students.

The amendment in its current state says, those who receive an offer to study in the UK shall also not be subject to more restrictive immigration controls than were in force for a person in their position on the day this act was passed. It also says the secretary of state should have a "duty to encourage international students to attend higher education providers".

The amendment will now be considered by MPs, who may choose to either accept or reject it. Peers can then try and insist on the changes, recommend alternatives or back down.

Oxford University Academics Set to Leave the UK

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Reports from Oxford University colleges suggest that academics are already planning to leave the UK in the face of uncertainty on their rights after Brexit.

The heads of 35 colleges have warned that the institution will suffer "enormous damage" if European Union staff lose their right to work in Britain.

As a result, they had urged the government to back a House of Lords amendment to the Brexit bill which guarantees protections for EU nationals living in the UK.

However, late on Monday peers back down over the issues of EU residency rights and a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal after their objections were overturned by MPs. In the end the House of Lords agreed not to reinsert guarantees over the status of EU residents in the UK into the bill, with government winning the vote by a margin of 274 votes to 135.

A letter signed by all but three Oxford college heads had stated that the governments previous promises had not provided the reassurance they were after.

In the letter it said: "Oxford University relies on EU citizens as lectures, researchers and support staff. If they lost their right to work here our university would suffer enormous damage, which given our role in research, would have reverberations across the UK.

"Our EU colleagues are not reassured by a government which tells them that deportation is not going to happen but declines to convert that assurance into law, some are worried, some are already making plans to leave.

"Many of our staff don't know whether absences abroad on research contracts will count against them. Others do not know, however longstanding their work and residence, whether their children will be able to remain in the UK."

In 2015-16 almost a fifth of UK academics were from the EU, highlighting the potential scale of the issue for universities.

Building Works Begin on £34.5m Bath Student Accommodation

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The University of Bath is to start the building work for two new student accommodation blocks equipped with nearly 300 bedrooms.

The newly built student accommodation will be targeted towards those studying doctoral degrees and as such the development will include communal areas, which will have boardroom-style meeting rooms.

Situated to the west of the university's Claverton Down campus at Polden Court, the £34.5 million development will offer students en-suite bedrooms in 37 flats arranged around a landscaped courtyard.

The university's president and vice-chancellors Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, said: "Today marks the beginning of what will be a major addition to our university.

"In offering our future postgraduate students the highest quality accommodation, Polden will help us to grow our doctoral student population - an essential element of our new strategy."

The development has been designed with postgraduate student needs in mind. As a result, there will be dedicated communal learning spaces with the latest audio-visual facilities and each bedroom will have increased storage and a good-sized study space.

Permission to build the accommodation was granted in May last year by Bath and North East Somerset Council planners, with the site due to open in Autumn 2018.

Degree Apprenticeships Increase in Popularity

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Degree apprenticeships, consisting of university studies and work, are close to becoming a significant success, according to a new report from Universities UK.

Nearly 5,000 people will begin degree apprenticeships for the 2017-18 academic year, representing an eight-fold increase on when the scheme was launched in 2015.

The report also found the scheme was reaching people who would not otherwise have gone to university.

The degree apprenticeship scheme operates across England and Wales, but is open to applicants from throughout the UK.

The study into the scheme found that at least 60 higher education institutions were looking to introduce degree apprenticeships from September and that by then more than 7,600 people will be enrolled on degree apprenticeship courses.

The report suggested the current growth was driven by the need to meet skills shortages, with chartered management, digital and technology solutions and engineering the top three areas of provision.

However, there is still room for improvement with the report finding that awareness of the scheme among individuals and employers was too low.

Researches have therefore urged government and universities to increase efforts to "publicise and improve understanding of degree apprenticeships and their fundamental role in supporting social mobility and raising productivity."

Sussex and Loughborough Top University Rankings

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The annual QS World University Rankings by Subject has crowned Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the most top places, but Sussex and Loughborough also achieve top awards.

Among UK universities, Oxford was rated top in the most subjects, while the university of Sussex was ranked as the world's best for development studies and Loughborough was ranked best for sport.

The annual rankings compare institutions across 46 subjects and report on the strength and depth of specialisms, rather than basing comparisons on an overall university ranking.

Harvard topped 15 of these subjects, while fellow US university MIT being awarded the top spot for 12.

In addition to Sussex and Loughborough there were a number of UK universities that claimed first place in their specialist field.

The Royal College of Art was top for art and design and the Institute of Education, which forms part of University College London, was first for education.

The University of Cambridge was the most consistent institution, with more subjects in the top 10 than any other.

In total a quarter of all top 10 rankings are taken by UK universities, with the US and UK having the biggest share of the highest places.

The University of Nottingham also fared well, being named as an elite institution in 37 of the 46 subjects surveyed.

Commenting on the results, Ben Sowter, head of research for the rankings firm, suggested comparisons by subject were becoming more important for students when considering courses and institutions.

He added: "Subject rankings are becoming more and more influential" and the UK does particularly well in these rankings, which drill down to a subject level.

Bank Backed by Cambridge College Continues to Expand

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The bank, Cambridge & Counties, which is jointly owned by Trinity Hall, part of the University of Cambridge, and Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund, has loaned out more than £500 million to small firms since its launch.

The bank saw its loan book increase 41% last year, increasing from £416m to £588m, while deposits at the bank rose 45% to £685m. Pre-tax profits for 2016 increase 78% to £18.1m.

Cambridge & Counties was established in 2012 to support small and medium-sized businesses. The goal was to use long-term funds controlled by the college and pension fund, to fill a perceived gap in the market by lending to companies with a turnover and assets of less than £25m. The bank hoped the venture would generate profits but also fulfil a socially useful purpose.

Although competition for lending to small businesses has increased since the bank was established, C&C insists there is still plenty of room for growth.

The buy-to-let part of the bank, which predominately serves professional landlords in the midlands and the north of England, has reportedly seen no slowdown post the Brexit referendum. According to chief executive Mike Kirsopp, the bank wants to grow that side of the business into the south of the country as well, via its Bristol office.

The company expects its growth for 2017 to be similar to what it recorded the previous year and has increased its workforce to meet the demand of new business.

Pension Infrastructure Platform to Invest Heavily in Student Housing

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Arlington Advisors is teaming up with Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PiP) to invest in the UK's student housing market.

Pip, an infrastructure investment platform for UK pension funds, has entered into a strategic partnership with Arlington Advisors, to invest in accommodation situated on university campuses.

Arlington Advisors, which offers advice to European and Middle Eastern investors, has pumped more than £500 million into UK student housing in recent years.

The company said it will help PiP increase its exposure to student housing and in particular, those situated on-campus.

According to the advisory firm, universities are increasingly looking to bring in outside investment and expertise to bring forward on-campus student accommodation developments.

Founder and chief executive of Arlington Advisors, George Shweiry, said: "We are continuing to see record levels of demand for high quality, appropriately priced and well-maintained student accommodation, and universities are increasingly recognising the value in partnering with professional investors and managers."

Meanwhile, Mike Weston, chief executive of PiP added: "PiP is focused on core investment that delivers long-term, inflation-linked cash flows, and we see student accommodation as a key growth opportunity in this market that provides these attributes for UK pension schemes."

Arlington has so far invested in 7,800 student beds across 10 UK cities. The company acquired over £250 million of student housing assets in 2016 and is looking to increase the pace of investment in 2017 and 2018.

Surrey Students' Union Calls for Housing Intervention

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The University of Surrey Students' Union has called for action to combat what it calls a student housing crisis.

According to student union president, Alex Mackenzie smith, the market system has failed and it's time for intervention, including more regulation.

The students' union has said students are being forced out of Guildford or into working longer hours, in order to pay for rent.

A housing manifesto created by the union said: "The housing market is increasingly occupied with those who are looking for an increasing return on their capital, and squeezing their tenants for everything they can, while doing the absolute minimum to be a legal landlord."

Miss Mackenzie added: "The market system has failed Guildford, and now it is time for intervention to bring fairness back to the system designed to provide the most basic human need. A roof over our head."

The manifesto called for more regulation to help protect students from exploitation, more purpose-built student accommodation, for students to be treated as residents of Guildford and for the introduction of rent controls to ensure prices are kept down.

The union is looking for Surrey residents to sign a petition to increase student loans with a London weighting, as students are being forced to pay rents similar to those in the capital.

The document also referenced the recently launched landlord accreditation scheme, suggesting its purpose was worthy but will fail to work when the market isn't functioning correctly. It suggested below par properties are still able to attract tenants, ensuring poor performing landlords aren't forced to raise their standards, leading to the exploitation of students.

Councillor Paul Spooner welcomed the manifesto but suggested a shortage of housing locally and regionally for all residents presented many challenges.