New student housing for University of Sussex approved
Plans to create more student accommodation on the University of Sussex campus have been approved by Brighton & Hove City Council.
The decision, made today (3 August 2016) by planning committee members, will lead to the redevelopment of part of the campus to create 2,100 new bedrooms as well as a new building for the Students’ Union and social facilities.
John Duffy, University of Sussex Registrar, welcomed the council’s decision: “This is an important project for the University so we’re very pleased with this outcome. This means that we will now be able to house more students in University-managed accommodation, which will take away some of the pressure of housing in the city.”
The new buildings will replace the existing East Slope student accommodation, which dates from the 1970s and currently houses 600 students.
Mr Duffy said: “We know that many of our former and current students have a great affection for East Slope, and our aim is to provide modern, affordable accommodation that recreates the fantastic social environment.
“In considering the redevelopment options, we invited students to tell us what sort of facilities they would like to have in their accommodation and these results were fed into the design and planning process.”
The new bedrooms are the first stage of a £500 million programme of investment to modernise and improve the University’s campus.
Last year the University was granted outline consent for its campus Masterplan, which includes the majority of this new student accommodation. Work on the site will be carried out by a phased approach and is expected to begin in January 2017. The first phase will be ready around September/October 2018, with all work completed by 2020.
The University has been working in collaboration with Historic England, Brighton & Hove City Council and other local bodies to ensure that the campus’ architectural legacy is not compromised.
Sir Basil Spence, the original architect of the University, created a number of highly distinctive and cherished signature buildings. These include Falmer House, the Meeting House and the newly refurbished Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (formerly the Gardner Arts Centre).
Mr Duffy said: “We will be renewing the original Spence vision with the creation of new and equally distinctive signature buildings, as well as better pathways and movement through the campus, sustaining lines of sight to the South Downs. The choice of building materials will also echo those favoured by Spence.”
Last year Balfour Beatty were appointed as the approved bidder for the development and operation of the new accommodation.
Mr Duffy said: “This was a highly competitive tender process, in which we received several excellent bids.
“Balfour Beatty demonstrated a strong understanding of our desire to develop high-quality accommodation while maintaining the character of the natural landscape of Sussex within the setting of the South Downs National Park.”
“They were able to address our critical requirements as well as having extensive experience in delivering large-scale projects of this nature.”