Creating a student village

If we are to continue to be one of the world’s leading academic institutions, and to do research that benefits society, we need to increase our intake of students and staff.

In recent years we have increased our student numbers and we now have almost 18,000 students. Our expansion plans ensure at least 40% of our students continue to live on campus. Around 20% of Sussex students have home addresses within commuting distance to our campus and do not require University-operated housing.

Our plans will create a new student village of 2,100 units to replace about 590 outdated student bedrooms built in the 1970s. This new accommodation will add to the range of student housing we have on campus.

Architect's impressions of the new student campus

New buildings will be a mix of townhouses and flats. The terraces of townhouses will give students a house to share. Kitchens and bathrooms will be communal and bedrooms will be organised like a house on three floors.

Flats will be arranged with clusters of rooms in the larger buildings. Students will share a kitchen organised around a communal entrance and corridor all on one floor. All bedrooms will be en-suite.

Some of the buildings will have communal space for common rooms and laundry space at ground level, acting as a hub for people to meet and socialise. Bookable study rooms will be provided together with secure cycle parking for every resident.

We want our students to have access to the best facilities, to help make their university experience the most enjoyable it can be.

Our contractor started work on site in January 2017. They are building the new accommodation in phases and we aim to have the first phase ready for around September/October 2018. We are aiming for full completion by 2020.

Frequently asked questions

  • How many students currently live in East Slope?

    About 600 students currently live in East Slope.

  • How much student accommodation is provided on campus by the University?

    We currently manage about 4,300 bedrooms on campus.

  • Why are you planning to redevelop East Slope?

    The current buildings date back to the early 1970s and are now reaching the end of their life. We also want to ensure we develop our student residences to take into account any increase in student numbers in the coming years.

    We currently have about 4,300 rooms on campus. Redeveloping East Slope will provide about 1,400 extra bedrooms, which will help us to accommodate the projected increases in student numbers while helping us to achieve our target of offering accommodation on campus to at least 40% of our students.

  • Students say they love living in East Slope. Why are you going to pull it down?

    Current and former students often speak affectionately about their time living in East Slope, as well as its flaws. East Slope, which houses around 600 students, was built in the 1970s and is expensive to maintain. We believe we can recapture some of the atmosphere of the current East Slope in the designs for the new residences.

  • How much is the cost of the project?

    The value of the project is up to a maximum of £150 million.

  • How are you going to pay for this massive new development?

    We have entered into a partnership arrangement with Balfour Beatty, who will raise the finance for, build and operate (in partnership with Sussex Estates and Facilities) the new residences.

  • How do you know what students want from any new housing development?

    Student views and feedback, through a consultative process, has always been a key part of our housing strategy.

    As part of the planning process for East Slope and to keep the student community involved and informed, in 2014 we ran a series of workshops (in conjunction with the Students’ Union) for students to share ideas and thoughts.

    The Students' Union also contributed to the design and content of a questionnaire, which all Sussex students were invited to complete. The questionnaire asked students about what is important to them when choosing where to live and sought views on the plans for East Slope.

    We incorporated the results of this consultation as far as was practicable into the process.

  • When did construction work begin?

    Our contractor started work on site in January 2017. They are building the new accommodation in phases and we aim to have the first phase ready for around September/October 2018. We are aiming for full completion by 2020.

  • What’s happened to all of the wildlife and other animals on the East Slope?

    The construction project on the East Slope has been designed to protect and retain local wildlife such as native birds, bats and badgers.

    Before work started on construction of the new student residences, ecologists and biodiversity experts undertook a number of surveys to identify all local wildlife, plants and animals.

    As a result, plans were produced for the protection of identified species.

    We undertook preparatory measures before work began, including the erection of a reptile fence to prevent new communities of reptiles from developing. We also moved badgers on the East Slope into non-active setts elsewhere and undertook a bat survey (which involved monitoring their roosts). Once construction is complete, badgers will be reintroduced to their setts.

    The bees that our Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) use for their research and teaching have been relocated to make way for the East Slope construction site and are now thriving in a new spot on campus.

  • Where will students live while East Slope is being demolished?

    We demolished the Mantell building to allow for construction of new residences on that site prior to demolition of the current East Slope residences. This means there will be no net fall in the current supply of rooms available for students.

  • How will you manage to build 2,000 bedrooms on a site where you have only 600 bedrooms at the moment?

    Modern construction methods and effective use of space will enable the developer to build higher-density housing than the current residences, while respecting the architectural heritage of the campus and providing some green and open spaces.

  • What's happening to East Slope bar?

    After the East Slope bar closes in summer 2018, the Students’ Union will operate a temporary bar in the Northfield residences. 

  • Will the new East Slope rooms all have en-suite bathrooms?

    Not all of the new build will have en-suite bathrooms. There will be some town houses, without en-suite bedrooms, in the overall mix. Students have told us that they like to have good communal facilities such as kitchens/lounges, and IT is also very important.

  • Can we see the East Slope show flat?

    We will be working with the Housing Services team to arrange days when staff and students can see the show flat.

  • East Slope is currently one of the cheapest places to live on campus. How much will it cost to live in the new residences? Will the replacement accommodation be in a similar price range? Can you guarantee a low-rent option?

    We aim to provide a range of accommodation of a good standard that meets different student expectations and budgets. We recognise the need to provide a range of accommodation at various price points to ensure affordability for all students. Rent levels are reviewed every year and are always discussed with the Students' Union.

    A third of current on-campus accommodation – nearly 1,400 bed spaces - will be offered at reduced rates for the 2018/19 academic year, as the University reaffirms its commitment to providing a range of price points for student residences. Park Village will cost £90 a week from the autumn 2018, down from £98.53, making it the cheapest accommodation on campus and only £1.44 more expensive than the old East Slope. At £156.55 per week, rent in the new development is priced at about the same level as other en-suite campus accommodation, at Swanborough and Northfield (£156 per week). All campus rents include gas, electricity, water, personal contents insurance, cleaning of communal areas, wi-fi and 24-hour security.

  • When will the new East Slope residences open?

    Students will move into the first phase of East Slope in autumn 2018. We will then decommission and demolish the existing East Slope residences and start work on building phase two; we are aiming for full completion by 2020.

  • Does the University have any plans to help students who may not be able to afford the next cheapest accommodation (currently Park Houses) to live on campus?

    Rent levels are reviewed every year and are always discussed with the Students' Union. The rent includes utilities (water, heating, electricity and lighting), internet access, contents insurance, security and cleaning of communal space. Rents in Park Village have been reduced in real terms over the course of several years.

  • How will the campus cope with all of these extra students living on campus?

    We’ve already put in place building infrastructure – such as a new drainage system, for example – for other campus developments that will be capable of supporting the additional new residences on East Slope.

  • How will you ensure fire safety in the new residences?

    Safety at the University is our highest priority, including that of our 5,000 residents and for the students who will live in the new East Slope residences.

    All of our existing residential buildings have been subjected to a thorough and detailed fire-risk assessment, by an accredited fire-safety professional with extensive residential and fire engineering knowledge. Issues such as compartmentation, cladding and fire spread were reviewed as part of this assessment.

    All fire-detection systems on campus are managed by a specialist approved contractor. All systems are subject to monthly rotational call-point checks and they are maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications to meet the British standard for fire-alarm systems.

    The fire-detection systems in all campus buildings are monitored on a 24-hour basis. In addition, all of our fixed electrical systems are inspected regularly by a qualified electrician - with additional electrical inspections carried out on change of occupancy.

  • What will the new development be called?

    It's too early at this point to say what name the new residential development might be given.

  • Who can I contact if I am affected by activities on the East Slope construction site?

    To raise any issues about our construction works on the East Slope, contact the Sussex Estates and Facilities (SEF) Service Centre. Call 7777 (external 01273 877777) – 24-hour line. Email service.centre@sef.fm.

Questions and answers will be posted here as they are received.


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