Student halls to close as demand drops

AFS Team·31 October 2012·3 min read
Student halls to close as demand drops
Student letting in one university has shifted from boom to bust in just a year as a 200-bed hall of residence may close due to lack of tenants. Last year, the University of Cumbria, Carlisle, was crying out for private landlords in an SOS for student rooms. This year, higher tuition fees and the first phase of a new student village opening have combined to give the city too much student housing as numbers fall and new beds come on stream. The change of fortune is leading one halls provider to consider closing. The 200-bed Old Brewery halls, run by Impact Housing, has suffered as the university has sent students to the new village rather than outside accommodation. Impact Housing chief executive Mike Muir said: “We have grave doubts as to whether our scheme will survive in the medium term. Border Homes has just built phase one of their Denton Holme scheme and brought another 250 places into the system, at a time when overall Carlisle student numbers are not increasing. “The university seem to be preferentially referring students to the Border scheme and then, when full, on to their own two schemes which account for a further 200 beds. “This is disappointing in that in the past we have worked collaboratively. They made it clear to us at a meeting a couple of weeks ago that they regard their relationship with as a purely commercial one, alongside other private landlords.” The student housing balance will change again when a second phase of the student village comes on line with another 250 beds. The Brewery complex has 117 students in residence – despite offering rents at £22 a week cheaper than the new student village. “Impact has never had a contract with the university; the Old Brewery is only as an alternative choice for students,” said a university spokesman. “The university does not recommend private halls in any order but refer students looking for accommodation to private letting.”