Development of University Centre Shrewsbury living accommodation gets go-ahead from Council
Shropshire councillors have approved proposals for the development of living accommodation for students at the new University Centre Shrewsbury.
At a meeting of the full Shropshire Council yesterday (Thursday 18 December 2014), councillors agreed to delegate authority to the council’s Chief Executive, in consultation with the council’s lead finance officer, to acquire and fit out student living accommodation by the most economical route – subject to the completion of a satisfactory feasibility study.
A number of options in Shrewsbury town centre have been considered for living accommodation. Negotiations have been taking place with potential suppliers and it is hoped that an agreement on a preferred site will be reached shortly.
In case current proposals for suitable living accommodation can’t be agreed, and in order to identify additional capacity to allow for growth, Council also approved the undertaking of an open market tender for the provision and operation of up to 800 student living units on a call-off basis.
Councillors have also agreed to delegate authority to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the lead finance officer, to enter into negotiations and make an offer to purchase an additional site to house the long-term expansion of University Centre Shrewsbury – though this will be subject to obtaining funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a recast of the council’s Finance Strategy and the approval by full Council of a business case for purchase.
Meanwhile, an outline Student Accommodation Strategy is currently being developed and will be considered by full Council early in 2015.
As part of this strategy, Shropshire Council is intending to introduce a landlord accreditation scheme. The intention is that under such a scheme all private sector providers of student accommodation will need to demonstrate they have the appropriate accreditations to be a provider.
Used in many other parts of the country, accommodation accreditation schemes are a way landlords can accredit their property as suitable student accommodation, and reassures prospective tenants that a property meets the standards required for student accommodation. Such accreditations are often a requirement for landlords listing their properties on official university student accommodation lists.
Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:
“This is another really important step in the development of the new University.
“Council’s approval means that we’re now able to crack on with our plans to provide and develop living accommodation, and have it ready for our first undergraduates when they begin their studies at University Centre Shrewsbury next autumn.
“Some concerns have been raised in relation to the private sector provision of student accommodation in Shrewsbury, but I’m confident that these concerns will be addressed by our accommodation strategy, and the proposed landlord accreditation scheme.”
University Centre Shrewsbury is being developed by Shropshire Council in partnership with the University of Chester.
For more information, visit www.ucshrewsbury.ac.uk or follow @ucshrewsbury on twitter.