Case Study : 791 bed Student Village

BRIEF

Plainview Planning provided full planning consultant support on the redevelopment of a dilapidated University campus site, to create an attractive 791 bed student village in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

KEY ISSUES

New Homes; Project Management; Community Consultation; Specialist Reports; South West.

LPA

Cheltenham Borough Council

The Challenge

The University of Gloucestershire were seeking to regenerate an underused and dilapidated campus site in Pittville, Cheltenham.

Whilst a small amount of the site was used for student accommodation, the majority of the buildings were no longer fit for purpose and could not be used.

Keen to improve their student offer, the University of Gloucestershire and student accommodation provider Uliving sought to redevelop the site into a vibrant Student Village, consisting of 791 student bedrooms with associated study and leisure areas.

Whilst the scheme was demonstrably sustainable in terms of its social, economic and environmental benefits, it was met with opposition both by local residents and at planning committee.

SOLUTION

Plainview Planning acted as lead consultant on the scheme, working proactively with the project team to ensure any issues raised at committee were thoroughly addressed. We were also active in maintaining positive relationships with the public; engaging with the residents, stakeholders and planning officers at regular consultation events.

After extensive engagement and negotiation the scheme was recommended for approval and the planning committee acknowledged that the material considerations presented could not be refuted. The planning application was approved 9 votes to 6.

The scheme will involve the erection of 577 new-build bedrooms, the refurbishment of an existing media centre, a gym, study space, mixed use games area and the refurbishment of the existing 214 student bedrooms already on site.

This decision means that the University of Gloucestershire can meet increasing demand for places and improve their student offer, providing a high quality and safe living and learning environment for their students. It will help maintain the economic benefits of the University of Gloucestershire's strong links with Cheltenham and regenerate an underused and deteriorating site for the benefit of all.

UPDATE

The scheme achieved financial close in 2016. Partially funded by HM Treasury, Chancellor George Osborne recently said of the scheme: “Better infrastructure is about improving people’s lives, and that’s why we are determined to get Britain building again.

“Our initial deal will deliver a modern, new student village to give the next generation of students the first-class facilities they deserve.

“In my Spending Review we announced that we’re extending our UK guarantees scheme to March 2021 to help kickstart other exciting infrastructure projects like this one right across the country.”

The exciting potential that this scheme represents, for both the students at the University of Gloucestershire and the wider benefits to Cheltenham and Gloucester, was echoed in statements by both Uliving and the Vice Chancellor of the University:

Samantha Veal, Director at Uliving: “Uliving is delighted to begin the delivery of this exciting student village at Pittville. We have worked closely with the university and our funding partners to design buildings and services which we believe will provide a memorable university experience for the students that live with us – and will continue to attract further students, and investment, to Gloucestershire.”

Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire:“The university is delighted that financial close has been achieved on the scheme. This means we can now move ahead with the building work. The new student village at Pittville will give our future students a great place to live, with well-designed and well-managed accommodation and good facilities in a wonderful location. This is a major step in ensuring we can provide high-quality accommodation for all first year undergraduate students.”

IMAGE SOURCE: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 2015