UPP and Keele University’s proposals for £160-million new student residences given go-ahead

University Partnerships Programme and Keele University are delighted to announce that planning permission has been unanimously approved for a £160 million development of the University student residential estate. The scheme will transform student accommodation on the Keele University campus, and provide a major boost to the local regional economy.

The partnership between the University and UPP will provide around 1,300 students with accommodation, taking the total to approximately 4,300 rooms within the next four to five years. This will include the construction of approximately 2,300 high-quality, affordable rooms, matching the ambitions of the University and its students as it expands from 10,000 to 13,000 students by 2020.

The scheme will be a new build project at the Lindsay, Horwood and Barnes halls on the University’s main campus. New social hubs will be created in each hall as well as enhanced social facilities to be developed at Holly Cross and The Oaks hall.

The University’s proposals have evolved over the last twelve months through extensive consultation with local residents, the student community and staff. Expanding within each of the existing Residential Halls, the development will provide four new social spaces that current Keele students themselves helped to design.

This latest partnership boosts UPP’s portfolio to around 36,000 rooms through long-term partnerships with 16 leading universities across the UK. Once the transaction is complete, UPP will have invested approximately £2 billion in universities across the UK since 1998, demonstrating the appetite amongst long-term institutional investment for the higher education sector.

Sean O’Shea, Group Chief Executive Officer at UPP, said: “We are delighted with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s decision to unanimously approve Keele University’s plans to expand and enhance their accommodation. The University has been ranked first by the National Student Survey for student satisfaction for three years in a row and our partnership with the University will enable more students to enjoy this institution’s award-winning campus.

“There is growing demand from current and future students for high quality, modern and affordable accommodation and it is vital to the continued success of the University that they are able to meet the expectations of these students by ensuring the very best experiences are available to all. This is one of the largest projects UPP has been involved with and underlines our commitment to driving investment into the UK’s higher education sector through leveraging cost-effective private investment.”

Over the last 10 years, Keele University has invested over £140 million in its campus and as one of the fastest growing universities in the UK, the project is vital to the continued success of the University.

The Council’s decision will also allow UPP and the University to begin further developments including a new music and teaching facility, a new medical centre and a dedicated postgraduate hub to replace the existing Keele Postgraduate Association (KPA) clubhouse.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice Chancellor of Keele University, welcomed the decision:

“This major investment will give Keele students access to some of the best campus accommodation in Britain, making the University an even stronger proposition for prospective students both here in the UK and internationally.

“By ensuring that our campus is fit for the future, we’re securing Keele’s position as a leading UK university that is a centre for both excellent teaching and world-class research. This investment ensures that Keele can grow and develop, and is great news for Newcastle-under-Lyme as well as the wider region.”

Emily Horsfall, Development and Democracy Officer at Keele University's Students' Union, said: “With growing student numbers, it is vital that the accommodation provision on campus is expanded.

“Students and their representatives have been involved in the project discussion and decision-making, and we’re now looking forward to seeing our campus being made even better for our students.”

Architects Church Lukas and landscape architects Urban Wilderness designed the project. Planning consultants Indigo Planning and stakeholder engagement consultants Lodestone Communications supported it throughout the process.

Work on the development is scheduled to start in mid to late 2017, and will be undertaken in phases in order to keep disruption to a minimum.