THE CITY NEEDS MORE STUDENT PURPOSE BUILT ACCOMMODATION
On Thursday 24 May 2018, Jamie Barlow, writing in the Nottingham Post, reported that although there are more than 22,000 student flats in Nottingham, the city still needs more as the number of students in the city (65,000 at present) is set to grow in the next few years. ...
There are around 22,000 student flats in Nottingham - but the city needs more.
That's according to the results of a survey set to be released by Nottingham City Council today (May 24).
But of all these student beds in the city, only 105 of them are not occupied - and more students are set to come into the city in the coming years.
There are almost 65,000 students at the two universities in the city - a number that is set to grow in the next few years.
And there are more than 2,600 new student flats in the pipeline, either currently being built or going through the planning process.
A high-ranking councillor at Nottingham City Council has said although there is a perception that there is too many student flats in the city, the reality is that more are needed.
It's a view that has been echoed by estate agents, saying supply will meet demand.
Jonty Green, head of student living at estate agents FHP Living, said: "The last 10 years or so have seen an increase in students coming to the city and a huge rise in the development of purpose-built student accommodation.
"Since 2007-08 the number of bed spaces on offer has increased from 13,905 to around 22,000 - but there is no bubble that is about to burst.
"The increase in student numbers to the city has created the need for more accommodation to be built.
"We have astonishingly low vacancy rates. These figures truly demonstrate an appetite for this type of accommodation, breeding confidence from local and global investors, truly establishing Nottingham as a well ranking university city to rival cities Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester.”
Nottingham City Council conducted the survey with the help of estate agents.
It found the number of unoccupied beds in the city centre is at an all-time low - just 0.5 percent are empty, a drop from 1.4 percent the academic year before.
This was despite 1,000 new bed spaces becoming available for the 2017-18 academic year. These, the report stated, included The Student Lodge, in Radford Boulevard, and The Frontage, Queens Street.
The 22,000 rented beds account for around a third of all rented properties in the city.
Students, meanwhile, said "there's not enough" private accommodation - but members of the public said they could understand why neighbours might be concerned about new developments near them because of noise issues.
Lucas Swain, 23, of Portland Street, vice-president of services at Nottingham Trent University's students' union, said: "It may seem excessive with the scale of student accommodation in and around Nottingham.
"However, it's undoubtedly needed. With the University of Nottingham having 30,000-plus students and Nottingham Trent having 29,000, the supply simply meets the demand."
Jane De Las Llagas, 20, an exercise nutrition and health student at Trent, of Rivergreen Road, Clifton, said she would like to see more student houses built instead.
She added: "Nottingham is really suitable for students. It's very affordable for students as well. The clubs here are very nice - especially Rock City."
Sandra Scott, 72, a support worker, of Grantham, added: "I can understand what people might think about the noise and parties - neighbours would be concerned about it."
Ian Stott, 38, of Porchester Road, Thorneywood, who delivers for Uber Eats and Deliveroo, added: "For delivery purposes, it would be good for student flats around the city. They have got to make more residential as well.
"They are building all the time, there's one at the top of Derby Road that's nearly finished and there's going to be some more around Bath Street."
Peter Green, 86, of Cyprus Road, Mapperley Park, a retired prison officer, said: "With the investment, that helps the local economy which is desirable.
"There's a lot more students about now than there used to be. But apart from graduation day when they flood this area [Old Market Square] with gowns and hats, you only really see the students on the first week when they arrive."
Although a third of new households between 2011 and 2017 were new student flats, they still make up 11 percent of city centre residential properties, with the city council also frequently granting permission for traditional family housing and overseeing the development of new affordable housing.
The University of Nottingham currently has 34,329 students compared to 29,996 at Nottingham Trent.
Between them, both universities contribute more than £1bn to the local economy and support 19,000 jobs, with 11,000 of these jobs directly linked to the two universities.
The report states: "There is planning permission for approximately 2,600 PBSA [purpose-built student accommodation] bedspaces with it anticipated that approximately 850 additional bedspaces will be provided by September 2018 and a further 1,750 additional bedspaces by September 2019 based on planning approvals and feedback with operators."
Which developments have already been approved in the last year?
One of those given the go ahead includes a landmark, £11.5m student block near Nottingham Railway Station.
Work started in March and The Laceworks, as it has been called, is hoped to open by September.
Located on the site of a car park next to the historic Hicking Building, at the junction of Queens Road and Summer Leys Lane, it will include 222 "high-quality” studio flats.
A build for a nine-storey block at the site of a former nightclub in Canning Circus is also underway.
The steel frame of the nine-storey, 103-bedroom student property has since been erected, towering high above the nearby buildings, where Junktion 7 used to be after it closed in 2008.
Further developments include a huge, nine-story tower block at 75-78 Talbot Street [on the site of the former Saab car showroom and school buildings]. It will be accessible from both Talbot Street and Wollaton Street featuring a large central courtyard, with space for 353 student bedrooms.
Another 66 student flats were given the green light in December on land next to Canal Street, off Castle Boulevard.
The narrow strip, opposite National Tyres, means the building will back onto the canal, with the walls of the buildings going directly into the water.
And a former restaurant on Derby Road will be demolished to make way for a three story development - including 45 studio flats. Some of the them would be for students.
The council also approved plans around a further 92 units, proposed in Lower Parliament Street and Glasshouse Street.
It will involve tearing down of a nearly century-old row of red brick buildings to make way for 92 studio units for students on the site that currently houses a disused British Gas shop and empty units which are in a poor state of repair and would not be easy to convert.
More than 30 student apartments have been given the green light to add to the regeneration of Sneinton Market - and a former Victorian lace mill that made camouflage netting during the Second World War could be transformed into more than 50 student flats after plans were approved.
The five-storey Grade II-listed site, off Alfreton Road, was built more than 200 years ago and was previously called the Victoria and Albert Lace Factory.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for planning and housing, at the council, said: “We know there’s a perception that there’s too much student accommodation and more can’t possibly be needed.
"But actually, we can see we are only just keeping pace with demand. Vacancy rates in new student flats have remained consistently below 2 percent for the past four years, with no signs of that changing as student numbers continue to rise.
“Our position has been to encourage purpose-built student accommodation in the city centre where other residents might not choose to live but students want to be.
"We can see that this is reducing the concentration of students in some parts of the city and frees up housing that’s arguably better suited for families and other residents.
“Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t refuse planning permission for student accommodation without a sound policy reason – and some land may be suitable for small units and flats but not for family housing.
"It’s also clear that students are part of the life-blood of our city centre, with new student accommodation giving disused buildings and the areas around them a new lease of life.”
A University of Nottingham spokesman said: “Students are drawn to Nottingham for the unrivalled combination of its leading universities, vibrant city and beautiful countryside. We are proud of their contribution to the community and economy, which is estimated at £11,000 per student per year.
“We aim to accommodate 90 percent of our first year full-time students on campus in our 19 halls of residence, but welcome the role that private companies and the city’s private landlords have to play.
"And we work hard with the council and local agencies to ensure students play a positive role in the city they call home.”
A Nottingham Trent University spokesman added: "Nottingham Trent University continues to attract local, national and international students who contribute significantly to the city’s economy and culture.
"We support the creation of a council policy that permits development in response to need and stimulates the provision of high-quality accommodation in appropriate locations.”
A number others huge projects could be on the way, too, subject to council approval.
Such as proposals for more than 300 student flats opposite the train station at 11 Station Street as part of a development including luxury office space and another 420 student beds in a £50m project at a brownfield site in Crocus Street, also near the train station.
One of the comments that has continued to be made at NAG meetings since the group was first formed in 2004 refers to the fact that whilst it is clearly busy commissioning 'iconic' buildings on its own land, Nottingham University appears to be reluctant to use that land to build exciting and innovative student purpose build accommodation, thus reducing the pressure on family homes and neighbourhoods bordering its many campuses.