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Britain's shameful student accommodation

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See so much of this crap in my own town 




You know it when you see it. Blunt cliff-faces of tiny square windows, piled as high as regulations allow, like stacks of construction-site cabins the builders forgot to remove. Sometimes topped with a jaunty quiff, or dressed in a lurid harlequin costume as if to scream “Youth!”: these goliaths are sprouting across Britain, lumbering into its towns and cities like container ships run aground.

This urban disease of mean-minded, pile-em-high cells is not a new government prison programme, but actually purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). It is one of the most lucrative sectors in the UK property industry, currently worth £46bn, with developments completed this year expected to total a record £4.7bn. But is it time to stop this tide of tacky tombstones? Are they spoiling our built environment?



According to Savills, the proportion of international investment flowing into the market has almost doubled in the last two years, with £1.2bn coming from Singapore alone in 2016. Around 25,000 new units have been completed for the start of this academic year, while a further 14,000 are already under construction for next year, with developers sniffing around the “emerging markets” of Bath, Canterbury and Cardiff, now that Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds have reached saturation point. Across the country, sites that were originally allocated for housing are finding themselves sprouting blocks of student flats, as they represent a more “viable” proposition for a quick return. In central London alone, there are around 4,000 student rooms under construction, with over 8,000 more with consent or in planning.


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  • 293 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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