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Report reveals almost 1,700 extra beds for students needed in Norwich within 10 years

PUBLISHED: 12:37 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:37 17 June 2019

Pablo Fanque House in Norwich.  One of the student blocks which has been built. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Pablo Fanque House in Norwich. One of the student blocks which has been built. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

The rising number of university students studying in Norwich means there needs to be almost 1,700 more places for them to live built over the next decade.

That is according to Norwich City Council officers, who are grappling with the issue amid a surge in buildings in the city centre being turned into student accommodation.

A number of applications for new student accommodation, such as near the Premier Inn in Duke Street and the conversion of St Crispins House nearby, have seen the city council criticised for not having an assessment over how much student accommodation is required.

City Hall officers have been working on such an assessment and to come up with some guidelines for best practice, when it comes to applications for student accommodation.

The University of East Anglia is projecting an increase of 4,805 students by 2036 - an increase of 22pc, from 17.195 to 22,000, while the Norwich University of the Arts predicts its numbers will increase from 2,215 to 2,600 10 years from now.

Not all those students are full-time and not all require accommodation.

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But city council officers estimate there will be a need for 1,300 more bed spaces for them within five years and 1,700 by 2029.

There are currently 5,145 purpose-built student accommodation bed spaces in the city and around 2,295 units in the planning pipeline.

Just over 1,000 are under construction and 1,105 have planning permission, while the other 149 are pending a decision.

Council officers have put together a document which outlines best practice for such accommodation, including that developments of 200 to 400 student bed-spaces would be most acceptable.

In the report, City Hall officers state: "By encouraging good quality and appropriate student accommodation in Norwich, the council will help support the continuing success of the city's higher educational institutions and increase retention of graduates in Norwich, thereby boosting the city's reputation and economic prospects."

The document will come before the city council's sustainable development panel next week.

If members agree, it will then go out for public consultation, before the cabinet decides whether to adopt it.

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