New student buildings boom goes on

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Smithdown Road's student community may switch to new city centre accommodation options. Pic © Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

Smithdown Road’s student community may switch to new city centre accommodation options. Pic © Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

Plans to build a brand new 1,005-bed student accommodation building in Bevington Bush near Scotland Road are now underway – forming the latest in a surge of developments.

The building will include 44 storeys of rooms spread over four blocks, as well as a gym, yoga centre and a courtyard.

The application comes from Bevington Developments Limited, after another scheme on neighbouring site, that would see 377 residential apartments and studios built, got accepted.

The scheme comes after the city centre has seen over 12 plans for new student accommodation developments in the past year, including Paramount on London Road, The Edge on Seymour Street and with Landmark set to open in Islington.

In July, a review group set up of councillors, representatives from each university and developer communities met over a series of three days to discuss the amount of student accommodation buildings being built in the city centre.

Due to the amount of student accommodation buildings around the city, some have expressed fears that other student communities, such as the established Smithdown Road hub, could soon start to suffer.

Smithdown Road has seen many students relocating from city centre halls of residence to the area over the last few years, with its own student community, and businesses, such as the restaurant and pub, The Brookhouse, having thrived.

New city centre accommodation buildings, such as The Arch and St Andrew’s Place, mean that living in the city is, for many, proving an affordable and modern way to spend the rest of your time at university.

Labour councillor Laura Robertson-Collins said: “The new city centre student accommodation could affect the area in the long term. However, the student population is still rising. Smithdown still remains attractive to students because of the businesses there, such as the Brookhouse and Evil Eye.

“The problem we could see is having a sudden decrease in students which could see a lot more vacant houses. Anecdotal evidence currently is that owner-occupiers are buying in the area again and this is good news. It is a diverse area.”

About Sophie Corcoran, JMU Journalism