More student developments for Pitt Street

The Henry Hirst building on Pitt Street is empty. Image by Steve Ellwood

The Henry Hirst building on Pitt Street is empty. Image by Steve Ellwood

Pitt Street in Newcastle upon Tyne could see another new student development if plans are approved.

The street is close to St James’ Park football ground and very near to Newcastle University’s Business School development and St James’ Point Phase 1. (Phase 2 is currently under construction.) The latest development would occupy the site of food processing company Henry Hirst.

The flats will be spread over four and five storeys and house 65 students. The plans were submitted by Mario Minchella Architects on behalf of JSK Property Developments. If approved the Henry Hirst building and several yards would be demolished.

Three similar projects for the site have been proposed and all withdrawn or refused. A further set of plans to convert the existing building into offices was approved in 2008 but developers say it is “unclear” if they were ever implemented.

Pitt Street will also be home to a further two 12 storey student accommodation blocks on the site of the former Hill Court flats.

Henry Hirst, which has produced pork products since 1878 is currently based on a site in Benton.

Radio studios to become student digs

The empty offices would be converted into 30 student bed spaces.

The empty offices would be converted into 30 student bed spaces.

An empty radio studio in Thornaby in Stockton will be transformed into student flats if planning consent is granted.

The TFM studios were built in 1994, but abandoned last year when the station moved to Newcastle to share studio space with sister station Metro Radio.

Student Accommodation firm Kexgill has submitted a proposal to Stockton Council to convert the three storey offices in 30 student beds.

Kexgill currently caters for more than 2,700 students from its offices in Middlesborough and Stockton. The development of the building would see a single storey lobby added and a second entrance to allow accessibility for the student residents.

The application, which is currently with Stockton Council pending consideration, adds: “The existing building is extremely distinctive in its use of decorative brickwork comprising alternating string and soldier courses.

“The proposed extensions and alteration will be constructed to match the existing brickwork.”

NEW FOR 2014: Union Square.

Continuing our New for 2014 series, Emma Luke took a tour of Union Square in Upper Ouseburn, to discover everything that Adderstone Groups newest development has to offer.

Standing on the roof terrace of one of the penthouse studio rooms, looking out over the city, it’s easy to see why Lindsey Green, my guide from Exchange Residential and the Property Manager at Union Square, is so enthusiastic about the future of Ouseburn.


A spacious studio room at Union Square that boasts an enviable roof terrace.

In one direction the view sweeps across the Ouseburn, showing the development’s proximity to the popular watering holes of the Cluny et al, and in the other the newest part of the Northumbria University campus, with Newcastle’s familiar cityscape behind.

And it’s not just what’s already here that makes Union Square so excellently located, it’s the buzz; the sense that Shieldfield and Ouseburn are being made over to be enjoyed by a new generation. The development is no doubt the jewel in the Adderstone Group’s student accommodation crown. A stylish building that looks like apartment living, it houses a mix of studio rooms and cluster flats with communal living spaces. The eight storey building will bring 228 beds to the area when it opens this Summer.

Lindsey told me that they were keen to promote the area, and this is reflected in the five different types of room at Union Square, all named after Ouseburn streets. Two are rooms found in cluster flats, the other three are studio rooms, which contain a compact but fully formed kitchenette, with combination microwave, hob, fridge freezer and ample storage space. The development also boasts rooms with balconies or roof terraces. All studio rooms are equipped with a digital smart television. Cluster flats share a communal living space with kitchen, seating area, and a large digital smart tv. Every room is en-suite, with a shower, basin and toilet, mirror with storage behind, hook, toilet roll holder and heated towel rail.

Heating, water and electricity rates are included in the rent and 30MB broadband and contents insurance come as standard. Residents can choose to boost their broadband to a massive 100MB for an extra charge.

A Maling Studio has everything a student could need for stylish urban living.

A Maling Studio has everything a student could need for stylish urban living.


Style is not an afterthought at Union Square, kitchens are sleek shiny white and polished stainless steel, rooms have painted feature walls and throughout there is a sense that the developers have painstakingly designed each space. The building is U shaped, set around an outside courtyard that offers rooms on the lower floors some privacy from the street.

On the ground floor there is a launderette and a concierge desk, and there is small car park at the rear of the building with room for 20 vehicles. Security at the development is very important, each resident has a key card to access the building and their flat. This key card also activates the lights in their room. Heating in the building is controlled and monitored so that it heats efficiently and economically.

Prices in the development start at £120 a week, with just a few rooms remaining for the coming academic year. To book a tour of the show flat email Exchange Residential or call them on 0191 269 9920.


NEW FOR 2014: St James’ Point

In the second of our ‘New for 2014’ series, Emma Luke visited St James’ Point, a brand new studio development on the site of the former Magpie pub.


The studio rooms at St James’ Point have everything you could need.

St James’ Point, the newest development from Prime Student Living, is in an enviable position, nestled between St James’ Park and the Newcastle University Business School, walking distance to all the city centre has to offer and close enough to the city’s Chinatown that tempting smells waft its way.

The 216 studio room development is sleek and modern inside. Each studio room is very well equipped with a 3/4 sized bed as standard, a bedside table and underbid storage. There is a kitchenette area with a combination microwave oven, fridge freezer, toaster, kettle, hob and breakfast bar with two breakfast stools. Rooms also have a desk with chair, three drawers. cubby storage and a flat screen digital television. There’s a wardrobe with two drawers underneath and a mirror. The impressive en-suite has a double shower, sink with mirror and shelf over, a toilet and towel rails and hooks.

The compact kitchenette has a hob, combination microwave and fridge freezer built in.

The compact kitchenette has a hob, combination microwave and fridge freezer built in.

Rooms also come with a hoover, ironing board and iron. There are two noticeboards and black out blinds in every studio. But that’s not all that comes as standard; bills, including gas central heating and 30MB broadband are included in the price of a studio. Residents can choose to upgrade their internet package or add a landline at an extra cost. The cost of a room also includes contents insurance up to £5,000.

The development has a laundrette on site and a large common room, which will have seating areas and segregated spaces for study. Reception on the ground floor will provide a place for residents to liaise with staff, receive post and sign in guests. Security at St James’ Point is taken care of with intercoms in every room to communicate with guests outside, and a designated security team. In the evening Resident Co-ordinators will act as a go to for students living in the studios.

To the rear of the development there is a small courtyard, where there will be cycle racks for residents to store their bikes securely. Given the city centre location there is a small amount of parking available in the surrounding streets.

A luxurious double shower makes the en-suite a spacious space.

A luxurious double shower makes the en-suite a spacious space.

There are four different sizes of studio rooms available at St James’ Point. The standard size studio is 18 m2 and is only available on the ground floor of the development, this comes in at £142 per week. The classic studio is also 18 m2 and is £148.50 a week. The Large studio is 20-25 square metres and is £180 per week. The largest Premium studio is 25-30 m2 and is £191 a week. a limited number of rooms are fully accessible and the nine storey building has a lift and a staircase.

Rooms are filling up fast, to book yourself a place call 07725842678 or visit the Prime Student Living website. The show flat is now open from Monday to Friday. If you’re too late for 2014, don’t despair, work on Phase 2 of the project with a further 208 rooms in both studios and cluster flats has already begun on an adjacent site.

Newcastle City Council announce decision on HMO Licenses.

The Council have decided to maintain the existing HMO scheme.

The Council have decided to maintain the existing HMO scheme.

Since the High Court ruling in the Bristol Council v Digs Ltd case Newcastle landlords have waited to see if their licenses would be affected by the decision.

Now we can reveal that Newcastle City Council have decided not to refund HMO licenses on some 700 maisonettes in the city. In a letter to landlords the council stated that “We do not propose to make any changes in the Council’s current position on what type of HMOs must be licensed.  We consider that all such premises remain licensable.  For that reason, we do not propose to refund any fees that have been paid in the past.

The letter, signed by Stephen Savage, Assistant Director of Public Safety and Regulation went on to say

“I can however make it clear that should Newcastle’s position be challenged, we will defend our position in the courts.”

You can download a copy of the letter here.

Floor collapse at Manchester student party house.

Several partygoers were injured, but none seriously, when a living room floor gave way.

Several partygoers were injured, but none seriously, when a living room floor gave way.

On Friday the Manchester Evening News reported on a party at a student house which saw the living room floor collapse.

The three storey house in Withrington was the venue for a 300 guest end of exams party when the floor gave way leaving party goers trapped under debris in the basement. Neighbours say the student population’s behaviour is out of hand. You can read the full story here.

What’s the worst you or your tenants have ever done? And is a structural collapse the same as damage from a careless tenant? Leave your comments in the section below.

The Student Property Market Survey 2014 – the Results.

The results are in!

The results are in!

In May 2014 we conducted the Student Property Market Survey 2014, our chance to connect with landlords across the UK. The results of the survey are always interesting as they tell us landlord fears and hopes for the future, and help us understand the mindset of the industry from year to year.

This year the results proved no less fascinating. Now in its 4th year the survey expanded to ask six multiple choice questions with room for comment. The survey request was answered by 158 landlords and letting agents, as well as a small number of hall management companies.

Firstly we asked what is the biggest problem in the industry right now. 35% of respondents said that finding tenants was their biggest problem. A further 18% said the questions about student numbers and the sustainability of the market was their biggest concern. At 14% purpose built student blocks was the next biggest worry. One landlord said “Student numbers in the future and purpose built student blocks go hand in hand in impacting demand.” 6% of landlords said that they had trouble with unpaid rent and 9% said that keeping up with HMO regulations was the biggest headache.

We next asked what the second biggest worry was. 20% of those surveyed said that the sustainability of the student rental market was their second biggest worry. 19% said that the purpose built student blocks were playing on their mind. However 13% said that they had no worries, while 6% struggled with the idea that increased management costs could impact their bottom line.  “University terms have messed up the letting season and it’s difficult to find tenants / oversupply of properties also adding to this.  Being forced to use lettings agent which is not ideal.” 

One letting agent said that tenants’ attitudes were a problem: “Increasingly unrealistic expectations of tenants – some think they have booked into a 5 star hotel with concierge service.”

What is your current greatest far for the future of the student housing market?

When asked what their greatest fear was for the future of student housing, 41% said that they are concerned about the rise of the student village and purpose built blocks creating a student ghetto away from traditional areas of HMO housing. 17% are worried about a drop in the numbers of students in the future. 16% think that government and council legalisation will increase their workload and 14% think that universities will occupy a larger market share of student housing in the coming years. 5% worry about students struggling to pay their rent under such tight financial conditions while a breezy 3% claim to have no fears at all!

Those who commented offered a few more concerns for the future:
“Resale value of rental property.” 
“Government delays of new development approvals.”
“Article 4 restrictions – unable to increase student HMO portfolio.”

We asked our respondents what one thing they would like to change in their had a magic wand. 16% would ask for a change in HMO regulations, and 14% would choose to get rid of the student villages. 12% would like cleaner and/or politer tenants. 10% would like to reduce tuition fees, to ease financial pressure and to make the whole package of university seem more financially viable. A dedicated marketing period was the first choice of 9% of the surveyed landlords. For the first time by far the largest group at 27% said that they thought there was no magic answer. Some of them gave us some other areas that could be improved on such as one who suggested:

“Regulate and accredit the Rental Agents market to eliminate the cowboys.”

This letting agent looked to technology to improve his vision of the future:
“One place to advertise property online which ALL students use for finding their accommodation.”
We lastly asked in the future where do you think the majority of students will want to live? 38% of those surveyed said in purpose built student blocks while a close 34% maintained that traditional private rented accommodation in HMOs would be the number one choice. 10% said that university owned accommodation would become more widespread. 4% said that students would prefer to live at home. 12% chose the option ‘other’ providing us with answers such as “I think there will be a demand for a mixture of good quality accommodation.”

Others said that it depended on what sort of students the universities attracted in the future:
“I think international students may prefer Uni accommodation – for the added security of knowing what their accommodation will be from their homes abroad.”

Developers announce plans for Burgess House

The former office block is to be transformed into a new student residence.

The former office block is to be transformed into a new student residence.

An empty office block on St James’ Boulevard has been earmarked for student development.

Burgess House was built in the 1960s as office accommodation, and after a period of vacancy was snapped up by  Fortis Developments who will handle the conversion and then pass on the management to an experienced accommodation company.

The building will contain 110 studio student rooms and units are being sold as investment oppurtunities by Newcastle agent Walton Robinson. Director Richard Ponton told Student Housing “Walton Robinson are delighted to have been selected as the local agent by this national developer and have been very encouraged by the interest the studio units have attracted.

“The development is now 40% sold after just 6 weeks on the market, many investors being attracted by strong returns and assured returns for 2 years. We look forward to selling the remaining units and watching the development take shape in the coming months.”

The development will see communal areas such as a gym and media rooms built and an extra upper storey added to the building. There will also be a secure bicycle storage area  and a laundry room. Burgess House is ideally located for Universities and the nearby Newwcastle College, and is the latest in a group of new developments in the student housing sector.

Work picks up pace on Newcastle Glassworks Development

An artist's impression of The Glassworks in Ouseburn.

An artist’s impression of The Glassworks in Ouseburn.

Work has started to speed up on the latest Ouseburn hall project.

The Glassworks student development will be open in September 2015 and will occupy a space at the end of Coquet Street.

After the site was cleared late last year the foundations have been lain for 5 blocks each 4 or 5 storeys high. The complex will be a mixture of en-suite student bedrooms and self contained studio rooms. Cluster flats will each have communal kitchen and common room.

Block A wil have chill out and media rooms for residents and Block D will be home to the laundry, and management and security offices.

The development is the latest in a string of student projects that are making the former industrial area of Ouseburn into a new hotspot for the city.

New plans for refuse management in student areas.

Some of the large bins in use in the pilot scheme area in Jesmond.

Some of the large bins in use in the pilot scheme area in Jesmond.

Newcastle City Council is planning on doing away with Wheelie bins in areas of Jesmond, Heaton and Sandyford and replacing them with large communal style bins.

The council have identified nearly 10,000 homes which will be enrolled on the scheme. Each bin would cater for the rubbish coming from three or four homes. Families in the areas have mounted protests to the idea. Stephanie Hood, from Armstrong Avenue, has collected more than 100 signatures in 24 hours for a petition against the dumpsters being rolled out on the streets.

“They will be a health hazard for children who play in the back lanes daily,” said the mum-of-two. “It’s also easy access into properties. The council told us to keep our wheelie bins in our yards because of security and now they want these large bins kept outside all the time and people can use them to jump over the walls.”

Bins like these have already been installed in areas in Manchester, Bristol and Brighton, and people have to carry their waste a little way down back lanes and alleys to put it in the bins. In Newcastle currently residents receive one green bin for general refuse and a blue bin for recycling. Each home has two bins. A pilot scheme for the new system is already running in an area of Jesmond and residents say that it has reduced fly tipping.

Coun Hazel Stephenson, cabinet member for communities for Newcastle City Council, said: “We have a persistent problem in some back lanes in the city caused by wheeled bins being left out. These not only make the lanes look untidy, they cause obstructions for vehicles, including emergency vehicles, and are often misused, attracting anti-social behaviour.

“We are preparing to talk to residents in areas where we feel they may benefit from communal bins.”

Coun Stephenson continued: “The first phase will be certain areas of Ouseburn and other areas of South Jesmond. We will work closely with local councillors in these wards and will soon be contacting residents asking for their views.

“Where the majority of residents don’t want communal bins, and where residents correctly use their wheeled bins – we will maintain the current system.”

Not everyone is in agreement that these lager style bins will solve problems with untidy back lanes and fly tipping. Greg Stone, Liberal Democrat councillor for North Heaton, said: “There is an issue as in some back lanes it can be a bit scruffy. Students aren’t always very good at getting their bins in and out at the right time but I don’t think this is the solution. It encourages dumping and fly tipping.”

What do you think? Is the current system fine or does the council need to think of a new solution to scruffy back lanes and refuse management?