Student accomodation to be built

COMPANIES quick to capitalise on the construction of a new university campus are planning a string of new student accommodation buildings in Ipswich.One of the first buildings to be designed is currently before planning officers at Ipswich Borough Council and, if approved, could be among the first to house the flood of new students heading to town to study at University Campus Suffolk (UCS).

COMPANIES quick to capitalise on the construction of a new university campus are planning a string of new student accommodation buildings in Ipswich.

One of the first buildings to be designed is currently before planning officers at Ipswich Borough Council and, if approved, could be among the first to house the flood of new students heading to town to study at University Campus Suffolk (UCS).

Providus Student Accommodation, a company based in Wanstead, east London, has applied to construct a three to four storey block containing 49 bedrooms for student accommodation at 75 Grimwade Street where a small bungalow currently stands.

Roger Gilles, senior partner at Ipswich's Barefoot and Gilles Architects, which has designed the building, said the company had been attracted to invest in the town by the creation of the new campus.

He said: “What it sees is an opportunity because the campus has decided to increase its membership. Over the next seven or eight years they want to double the population there.

“I've spoken to a number of companies who are interested but these (Providus) are the first.

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“It's excellent for the town. The campus will change the entire nature of the town for the better. It will bring in a great deal of revenue.”

The Grimwade Street development has been described as a “modest scale building” which will fit within the surroundings of the listed frontage of neighbouring buildings.

Mr Gilles said: “It will be a new modern building and it will probably be one of the first, if not the first, purpose-built student accommodation to be built by new companies.”

If it is given approval, the Providus project should be completed by mid 2008.

Neil Jackson, director of estates and facilities at UCS, said talks had been held with a number of developers looking at building similar accommodation facilities in the town.

He said: “This is the beginning of the inward investment into Ipswich. Certainly student accommodation and some of the other student services such as retail are the first things you will see.

“We're discussing proposals and plans with quite a few developers. We're trying to ensure we have the appropriate student residences when we need them.”

UCS estimates that by 2010 it will have 4,400 Ipswich-based full-time equivalent students and by 2014/2015 that is predicted to rise to 6,200.

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