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Changing face of Norwich as £45m student flats revamp takes shape

PUBLISHED: 15:51 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:51 13 December 2018

The former Aviva Towers in St Stephens Street are being converted into student accommodation. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

The former Aviva Towers in St Stephens Street are being converted into student accommodation. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Archant

The £45m revamp of two huge towers in the heart of Norwich into homes for 700 students is on track to be completed by September next year.

Crown Student Living is creating student accommodation in the former Aviva buildings. Pic: Crown Student Living.Crown Student Living is creating student accommodation in the former Aviva buildings. Pic: Crown Student Living.

St Stephens Towers, formerly offices for Aviva, is being converted by Crown Student Living into student accommodation - complete with an on-site gym, games area and cinema room.

Norwich City Council agreed the proposals last summer and the buildings, one of which is above what used to be BHS and is currently Primark.

The buildings are currently covered in scaffolding by builders Carter.

The development, the latest example of student flats in the city centre, has been given the name Crown Place.

Crown Student Living says the development will include a party room. Pic: Crown Student Living.Crown Student Living says the development will include a party room. Pic: Crown Student Living.

It will be ready for the start of the academic year next September.

Mike Claxton, managing director of Norwich-based Norfolk Property Lettings and Management, which will be letting the properties, said what students were looking for was changing.

He said: “There are still opportunities for people to look to converted Victorian terraces, but this new building is going to provide up to date, purpose built units, fully furbished to very high standards.”

Mr Claxton said the scheme was already generating interest from home and abroad.

He said: “It’s something new for Norwich and it is going to be very different. We are already seeing a huge amount of interest in it.

“We do get a lot of overseas students in Norwich and we’ve been getting interest from overseas and at home. Quite often it’s mum and dad looking to ensure the students are somewhere where they feel they are in a safe environment.”

Recent years have seen a surge in student flats in the city centre, such as Pablo Fanque House in All Saints Green.

The city council recently gave the go-ahead for more student accommodation to be built above the pay and display car park in Barn Road.

Questions have been asked over whether the city centre can support the swelling student population. Council officers recently carried out an assessment, but it has yet to be published.

However, they said it did show there was still unmet demand in the city for such accommodation.

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