Following the recent planning approval of a new mixed-use student accommodation development in central Brighton, developer McLaren Property reveals what the local community can expect from the scheme.
Located on London Road, within Brighton’s regeneration area, the development will see an outdated building being replaced with new sustainable retail units and student apartments.
McLaren Property is working alongside Morgan Carn Architects and engineering consultancy Howard Ward Associates (HWA) to deliver the five-storey build, which will feature 156 student bedrooms with a reception area and communal interior and exterior spaces.
New retail units will make up the ground floor of the development, presenting an entirely refreshed shop frontage which holds a prominent position among London Road’s high street stores.
Part of the New England Quarter and London Road Development Area, where regeneration is actively encouraged by Brighton & Hove City Council, the new scheme will see the former Marks and Spencer site completely transformed – complete with a 24/7 security presence to manage the building.
As part of the environmentally friendly design, the building will achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of ‘Excellent’ and will feature solar panels on a green roof.
Further sustainable features include air source heat pumps as its primary heat source and planted outdoor spaces – including trees – which will be maintained using recycled rainwater. The development will also be car-free and have cycle route access and storage spaces.
The demand for quality, affordable student accommodation in Brighton continues to be a pertinent issue, with only 25% of the city’s student community living in purpose-built student housing.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, students have a preference towards living in dedicated accommodation with larger living spaces, premium Wi-Fi, 24-hour security and communal areas, rather than living in HMOs (housing of multiple occupancy), McLaren Property says.
The new purpose-built London Road development could also free up some of the many former family homes that have been converted into HMOs to house students, potentially allowing local residents to stay in Brighton and attracting new house hunters to the area.
Midlands-based HWA has been appointed to provide structural engineering to the project, with construction due to begin in Mid 2022.
Dan Bailey, director at HWA, said: “We are really pleased to be working with McLaren on the London Road development following planning approval – transforming what is currently an inefficient and underutilised site into much-needed student accommodation and fresh new retail units.
“The site presents a great opportunity to enhance the local area and contribute dramatically to the ongoing regeneration efforts on both sides of the site. We have been involved with the planning and design for this build since the beginning, working with McLaren Property, to provide our civil and structural engineering expertise to this scheme through the pre purchase and pre planning project stages.”
David Atherton, development director at McLaren Property, said: “We are very excited about the potential for this development - to contribute positively towards the regeneration of this important area within the city.
“Removal of the existing building means Providence Place Square can finally become a welcoming and successful inner city green space to be used by local residents. Students contribute vitally to the local economy and by occupying purpose-built student accommodation rather than HMOs, there is an opportunity to free up those local houses to local families.
“High quality design is at the heart of every project that we undertake and McLaren Property, together with our consultant team, is committed to delivering buildings that help drive positive change.”
Brighton’s student population sits at almost 34,000, with the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex proving to be popular choices for studying. The new city centre London Road development lies just one mile away from the University of Brighton’s main city campus.