First look at new student homes on Falmer campus

Posted On 08 Mar 2016 at 11:16 am

Sussex University is preparing to build 2,100 student rooms on the East Slope site at its Falmer campus as part of a £500 million modernisation plan.

The new student village will contain a mix of town houses and flats and will replace 590 outdated bedsits built in the 1970s.

Architect's impression View of the new Students’ Union facilities looking south down Refectory Road

Architect’s impression of the new students’ union building looking south down Refectory Road – courtesy of TP Bennett/Balfour Beatty

They will have shared kitchens, common rooms and laundry space and secure cycle parking for every student.

The university said that the student village on the East Slope site was the first stage of a scheme to modernise and improve the campus.

It would result in at least 40 per cent of all students living on campus. About 20 per cent come from the local area anyway. The university hopes to build more homes on campus for more of the remaining proportion of students who stay in the surrounding area – or find them homes in university-operated buildings.

As a result of the scheme the university – already one of the biggest employers in Brighton – expects to create an extra 2,400 permanent jobs.

Sussex University registrar John Duffy – the equivalent of a company’s chief executive – said: “We want to provide the best facilities for our students and staff so that we can continue to undertake life-changing research and bring all the benefits of being an internationally recognised educational institution to the Brighton region.

“Over time, we hope to house more of our students on campus or in university-operated accommodation rather than in the private residential sector in Brighton and Hove. This new development is a key part of that vision.

Architect's impression Aerial of new campus village from south

Architect’s impression showing an aerial view of the new campus village from the south – courtesy of TP Bennett/Balfour Beatty

“The university has been working closely with local residents and businesses, Brighton and Hove City Council, Historic England and other local bodies, as well as our own students, to ensure that we take into account their views.

“We are hosting a number of public information days to give people a chance to look at our plans and discuss their thoughts.”

The university said that the new buildings had been designed to respect and enhance the vision of the campus’s founding architect Sir Basil Spence.

And an important aim was to maintain the features of the unique landscape setting in the South Downs.

Last year the university was granted outline consent for its campus Masterplan, which includes most of the new student accommodation.

Architect's impression View of Reception Hub looking north from Boiler House Hill

Architect’s impression of the proposed Reception Hub looking north from Boiler House Hill – courtesy of TP Bennett/Balfour Beatty

If the detailed plans are approved in time, building work should start on the site next January with the first phase complete in September or October 2018. The university hopes that all the work will be finished by 2020.

The university said: “At the moment we have space for just over 4,200 students to live on campus and another 800 spaces in university-operated accommodation.

“We plan to create a new student village containing a mixture of town houses and flats.

“This will provide 2,100 new student bedrooms and will replace 590 outdated units built in the 1970s. This is currently known as the East Slope residences. The village will also include new purpose-built student facilities.

“At a later phase, we plan to develop a further 1,100 beds on another part of the campus.”

Before the university submits detailed planning applications it is holding two information days for neighbours and members of the wider local community.

The first is at the university’s Information Centre at 91 Lewes Road from noon to 2pm on Thursday (10 March). The other is at the Jubilee Library, in Jubilee Street, Brighton, from 10am to 5pm on Thursday (10 March) and Saturday (12 March).

For more information about the plans, click here.

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