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The Vogue for Student Housing

06th November 2018



The Vogue for Student Housing

There is the recent completion of the multi-coloured block at Kernel Court on Walnut Tree Close, which some like and some don’t (I do). In June the developer (Kernel Court Limited & Scape Student Living Ltd) submitted an application for a much larger eight storey scheme on an adjacent site with 403 student bedrooms and 85 ‘co-living’ studio rooms. The  ‘co-living’ accommodation  is  targeted towards  persons  of  20- 35  years  of  age  and graduates / young  professionals  who  wish  to  continue  communal  living. The developer says that it is the first development of its type in Guildford.

This was followed in July by an application from Summix for a six storey development between the river and WTC in four blocks for 482 student bedrooms and 2,504 sq m of ‘co-worker’ office space. We objected to both applications on grounds of design, bulk and height.

Finally, in August ‘Mr Managing Director’ submitted an application for the Quadrant site for 300 student bedrooms and accommodation for a casino/night-club and other uses in a 15 storey block. Again, we have objected strongly.

In addition to all of this, an application to build 527 student bed spaces on Guildford College land adjacent to Stoke Park was refused a year ago but has been taken to appeal. The hearing was on 11th October and the outcome is awaited.

These four applications for 1,712 student bedrooms in total considerably exceed the applications this year for residential dwellings in the urban area of Guildford. By way of comparison 1,153 student bedrooms, all on the University’s Manor Park site, were approved in 2016/17. The West Surrey SHMA Guildford addendum (2017) estimates a need for a maximum of 3,800 additional student bed spaces over the plan period to 2034 [Source: GBC Monitoring Report 2016/17 dated Nov 2017. This year’s presumably due out shortly.] To this must be added the needs of the Academy of Contemporary Music and the University of Law, but the sum of the applications appears to be running ahead of need.

If so, they are unnecessarily displacing much needed residential development, and circumventing the need to supply affordable housing.

The full report can be found on this link