Major plans for new student flats at Exeter University unveiled

An artist impression of the Clydesdale and Birks Residential student flats development at the University of Exeter (Image from the planning application)
An artist impression of the Clydesdale and Birks Residential student flats development at the University of Exeter.

Major plans for student flats to be built on the University of Exeter campus which could deliver 1,500 rooms have been unveiled.

The university has submitted a planning application for the development of the Clydesdale, Nash and Birks Grange Village Halls of Residence site off Stocker Road.

The proposals would see the demolition of the existing Clydesdale and Nash Grove accommodation buildings – built in the late 1980s and early 1990s – and the construction of new student accommodation buildings ranging from three to eight storeys.

Ancillary services, such as a shop, café and facilities are to be provided in the ground floor of some of the buildings, the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme reports.

The existing Birks Grange refectory building would be demolished and replaced with a new six-storey student accommodation block.

What the development will look like if approved.

At the existing Birks Grange Village Student residences, the accommodation blocks would be refurbished, changing from catered halls to self-catered halls by introducing a kitchen within each flat.

The Estate Services Centre would also be demolished and replaced with the construction of a new three and four-storey student accommodation building, with separate plans having been submitted to relocate the existing Estate Services Centre to a new location at Rennes Drive.

These proposals also involve building on an existing pair of tennis courts, but they will be relocated elsewhere on the campus.

The planning application says "high-quality" accommodation will help the university to attract "the highest calibre" of students.

It adds: "This improves the spending of students within the city economy during the duration of their course.

"Studies have shown students often stay in university locations after their studies, boosting the local economy further and increasing the supply of qualified, skilled professionals in the area.

An artist impression of what the scheme could look like.

“The proposed development would result in a number of social benefits for students and the City. Campus-based accommodation provides benefits in terms of social experience and wellbeing, especially for first year students leaving home for the first time. The quality of accommodation and ancillary facilities would also be improved though the demolition of the existing outdated residences.

“Increasing campus-based accommodation also reduces pressure on the need for homes to be converted to houses in multiple occupation. From a social perspective, campus-based accommodation is the right place for students and for surrounding residential communities.

“In addition to the social benefits of campus-based student accommodation, the application site is also highly sustainable in terms of its location. Students residing within the development will be a short walk from academic and ancillary buildings within the campus.

“Students are discouraged from bringing cars to the university and no parking spaces are provided within the development other than for disabled users. The campus has excellent public transport links to the city centre and is in close proximity with Exeter St David’s train station. The sustainable location and the fact that students are not reliant upon the car as a means of travel will result in significant carbon reduction.

“The scheme proposals would provide managed student accommodation on a university campus in a sustainable location. They would replace outdated accommodation which no longer meets the expectations of students.”

Exeter City Council planners will determine the fate of the application at a later date.

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