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 around 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Our development is creating a new student village of 2,100 units to replace about 590 outdated student bedrooms built in the 1970s.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.
New buildings are a mix of townhouses and flats. The terraces of townhouses give students a house to share. Townhouses have bedrooms arranged across multiple floors, with communal bathrooms and kitchens.
Flats are arranged with clusters of rooms in the larger buildings. Students share a kitchen organised around a communal entrance and corridor, all on one floor. All bedrooms within cluster flats are en-suite.
Some of the buildings 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 are provided, together with secure cycle parking.
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 the first phase opened in September 2018, providing more than 550 bedrooms. We are aiming for full completion by 2021.
Frequently asked questions
- How much student accommodation is provided on campus by the University?
We currently manage about 4,400 bedrooms on campus.
- Why are you redeveloping East Slope?
We want to ensure we develop our student residences to take into account any increase in student numbers in the coming years.
Before we started work on East Slope, we had about 4,300 rooms on campus. Redeveloping East Slope is providing 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.
- 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 raised the finance for the development. They are building the new residences and operate them in partnership with Sussex Estates and Facilities.
- 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 the first phase opened in September 2018, providing more than 550 bedrooms. We are aiming for full completion by early 2021.
- 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.
- What happened to East Slope bar?
East Slope bar closed in summer 2018, and the Students’ Union now operate a bar in the Northfield residences.
- Will the new East Slope rooms all have en-suite bathrooms?
Not all of the new build has en-suite bathrooms. There are 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.
- How much will it cost to live in the new residences?
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).
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 - is being 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 costs £90 a week, down from £98.53, making it the cheapest accommodation on campus and only £1.44 more expensive than the old East Slope. All campus rents include gas, electricity, water, personal contents insurance, cleaning of communal areas, wi-fi and 24-hour security.
- 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 including the students who 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?
The new student village will continue to be known as East Slope. However, the buildings in the new development are grouped into distinct areas, as four 'neighbourhoods' are being established within it - Camber, Bodiam, Lullington and Amberley - continuing the tradition of celebrating local Sussex places in the naming of campus buildings.
The neighbourhoods distinguish the different areas of the new student village and help residents and visitors find their way across the development. These smaller neighbourhoods also help to retain the sociable atmosphere and relaxed feel that was a much-loved feature of the old East Slope accommodation.
- 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 email@example.com.
Questions and answers will be posted here as they are received.