City tower to be converted to student flats in £10m plan

Vision for Brunswick House in Southampton

Vision for Brunswick House in Southampton

by Jon Reeve , Education Reporter 4:00am Thursday 10th January 2013 in Business

THIS is the £10m vision to transform an ageing Southampton office block into swanky student flats.

Developers have revealed plans to overhaul the 12-storey 1970s city centre tower into 156 studio apartments after failing to attract firms to take it on.

The owners of Brunswick House will put their proposals on show next week to gain public feedback, but hope to lodge a planning application by the end of the month.

If successful, they hope to have transformed the Brunswick Place building, which overlooks East Park, in time for the start of the academic year in September 2014.

As well as creating new en suite flats within the re-clad and modernised tower, owners Praxis say they would also create up to six revitalised shops at street level.

The proporty management firm said it has failed to let the building to businesses because firms are demanding modern, open-plan facilities available elsewhere in Southampton.

Bosses say they have decided to create “high-quality student housing”, which will not be aimed at first years, after market research revealed a demand for self-contained units in the area, which is just a stone’s throw from Southampton Solent University and close to London Road’s shops and nightspots.

The proposals come just months after controversial plans to convert the former British Gas offices in St Mary’s Road into student flats alongside a new 16-storey student tower were approved by Southampton City Council.

Residents in Newtown and St Mary’s objected to the scheme from Liberty Living, which will see the number of students housed at Orion’s Point double to 854.

And a scheme for 700 new student flats to be built on the former Co-op car park site just along St Mary’s Road, opposite Charlotte Place, is also expected to come before the council soon.

  • The public exhibition will take place from noon to 8pm next Wednesday, on the first floor of Brunswick House.

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Comments

7:27am Thu 10 Jan 13 shirley-bill says…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go

  • Score: 0

7:33am Thu 10 Jan 13 sarfhamton says…

shirley-bill wrote…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go

Yes I agree that many family homes were carved up cheaply and rented to students and these new flats will take tenants from them. Unfortunately with such a shortage of homes I am sure people will take their place. What we need is more social housing and support for people to get on the housing ladder. Anyway, more stock in the system can only help.

  • Score: 1

8:16am Thu 10 Jan 13 loosehead says…

Oh! My heart bleeds for those developers who've taken good family homes & turned them into HMO's not! In good residential housing stock HMO's should not be allowed these properties should be for families not HMO's or to be demolished to make way for blocks of flats. Hurrah for this type of development where dis-used offices are turned into student accommodation .

  • Score: 0

8:24am Thu 10 Jan 13 elvisimo says…

shirley-bill wrote…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go

Yes but there is a massive difference between the rents on private shared houses and these student flats. They are often too expensive for all but the wealthiest students.

  • Score: 1

8:53am Thu 10 Jan 13 FoysCornerBoy says…

Like many others here, I would relish the idea of more purpose-built student accommodation blocks in those areas of our City near Universities. There is a certain logic which suggests that such a policy could enable former family homes in existing student 'ghettoes' in central city locations like Portswood and the Polygon can then be returned to their former status. Sadly, though, as a direct consequence of new government policy on housing benefits, local 'rogue' landlords who own vast swathes of these HMO properties will simply replace their student tenants with others with 'social needs'. Many London Boroughs are already seeking to house people on their waiting list who cannot be accommodated locally (because of the Government's housing benefit caps) in areas well outside of the capital. Croydon is already looking to do precisely this and is actively looking for suitable social housing in our fair City for homeless residents it cannot afford to accommodate under the new rules. Local policy makers and planners really need to take this into consideration before rushing headlong into new student-type hostel developments that will only lead to an even greater intensification of low cost housing in the city centre without any compensating investment in the infrastructure. In addition politicians representing communities outside of metropolitan London need to look again at the government's housing and benefit policies and their unintended and ill-thought through consequences.

  • Score: 1

9:07am Thu 10 Jan 13 southampton999 says…

THis is pretty good news. Southampton needs students but the problems with the shared houses are that 1) the rents achievable for a mid terrace 3 bed 2 reception house are pushing the value of the houses through the barrier that working familes with children can afford, 2) Students do not pay council tax so those of us who so are paying for their bins etc to be emptied, 3) the landlords are often registered overseas or use false names therfore avoiding paying income tax on teir profits. This move to student pods is a deliberate and clever move by central government.

  • Score: -1

9:27am Thu 10 Jan 13 tootle says…

Good. There is too much office space being wasted whilst new is built. Maybe other blocks could be turned into social or emergency accommodation.

  • Score: 1

9:54am Thu 10 Jan 13 Outside of the Box says…

Des-Res for tax dodgers?,,,,,great at least the slum lords will take a hit.

  • Score: 0

11:01am Thu 10 Jan 13 sotonboy84 says…

Don't be fooled by this, this just means the universities will expand even more and the student population will increase. If this goes ahead, along with the plans for the Co-op site and the site at the top of Commercial Road will mean three large developments happening at the same time and it was only a few years ago that the old British Gas buildings were converted for student accommodation. This accommodation may not necessarily mean the HMO's that there currently are in the city will not be needed. Both the universities are always expanding and if they can prove that there is a suitable amount of accommodation, the number of students will increase. As Elvisimo has said, these new flats will be aimed at the wealthier students and the HMO's and the older halls of residence's will be aimed at the not so wealthy students. So in all, areas such as Polygon and Portswood, for example, will still be full of HMO's but the city will just have an even larger student population and with that comes a higher pressure on resources and undoubtedly more bars and clubs aimed at studnets. An increase in students can be a positive thing too but it seems to be full of problems in Southampton. So many areas of Southampton have been destroyed beyond repair by landlords taking advantage of the need for student accommodation, made worse by some students unsociable behaviour that have no care as they're moving on in a few years and just intend to enjoy themselves with no regard for others. The only people that will benefit here are the universities and the landlords, not Southampton or it's people.

  • Score: -1

11:38am Thu 10 Jan 13 userds5050 says…

shirley-bill wrote…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go

Eh, why are student landords like Unite any better? You might get Sky tv and a cleaner who comes round once a week, but the rents are astronomical.

  • Score: 1

12:06pm Thu 10 Jan 13 loosehead says…

Maybe Whitehead should be fighting to get a fixed rent on all student accommodation so these buildings would be of good quality & affordable to the students instead of going on about elsewhere in the country or doesn't he like fighting for this city?

  • Score: -1

4:01pm Thu 10 Jan 13 Sovietobserver says…

sarfhamton wrote…

shirley-bill wrote…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go
Yes I agree that many family homes were carved up cheaply and rented to students and these new flats will take tenants from them. Unfortunately with such a shortage of homes I am sure people will take their place. What we need is more social housing and support for people to get on the housing ladder. Anyway, more stock in the system can only help.

In the short term the private landlords will have little to be concerned about, because the next surge of immigrants is due to arrive at the end of this year. From the beginning of 2014 all Bulgarian and Romanian EU citizens who at present have restrictions to be able to live and work here, will have their right and freedom granted to them to move around the EU as they like. So any spare capacity in the private sector of rented accomodation will soon be in demand again. Less employment opportunities for the British will mean less mortgages and more re-possessions, therefore the private landlords are in a win win situation thanks to these changes in the immigration laws.

  • Score: -1

5:14pm Thu 10 Jan 13 bigfella777 says…

sarfhamton wrote…

shirley-bill wrote…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go
Yes I agree that many family homes were carved up cheaply and rented to students and these new flats will take tenants from them. Unfortunately with such a shortage of homes I am sure people will take their place. What we need is more social housing and support for people to get on the housing ladder. Anyway, more stock in the system can only help.

That's not how it works, they usually only live in halls or student blocks for the first year,then once they make friends they decide to rent a property for the second and third years as it is cheaper, do you realise a tiny room in halls is £110 a week? Living in halls for more than the first year is not fun.

  • Score: 1

7:52pm Thu 10 Jan 13 userds5050 says…

bigfella777 wrote…

sarfhamton wrote…

shirley-bill wrote…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go
Yes I agree that many family homes were carved up cheaply and rented to students and these new flats will take tenants from them. Unfortunately with such a shortage of homes I am sure people will take their place. What we need is more social housing and support for people to get on the housing ladder. Anyway, more stock in the system can only help.
That's not how it works, they usually only live in halls or student blocks for the first year,then once they make friends they decide to rent a property for the second and third years as it is cheaper, do you realise a tiny room in halls is £110 a week? Living in halls for more than the first year is not fun.

www.youtube.com/watc h?v=0dLpmg0CIEM

  • Score: 0

8:29pm Thu 10 Jan 13 bigfella777 says…

userds5050 wrote…

bigfella777 wrote…

sarfhamton wrote…

shirley-bill wrote…

Private scum landlords your days are numbered , more flats for students means less scum landlords.out out out you go
Yes I agree that many family homes were carved up cheaply and rented to students and these new flats will take tenants from them. Unfortunately with such a shortage of homes I am sure people will take their place. What we need is more social housing and support for people to get on the housing ladder. Anyway, more stock in the system can only help.
That's not how it works, they usually only live in halls or student blocks for the first year,then once they make friends they decide to rent a property for the second and third years as it is cheaper, do you realise a tiny room in halls is £110 a week? Living in halls for more than the first year is not fun.
www.youtube.com/watc h?v=0dLpmg0CIEM

Very good

  • Score: 0

11:05pm Thu 10 Jan 13 gristle says…

Just a 'stones throw' eh ? And close to the local boozers as well ! Sounds like good planning.

  • Score: 0

11:35pm Thu 10 Jan 13 dolomiteman says…

Student attendance numbers are down, a warning last week to landlords about their empty propertys (due to the lack of students renting) , A large unwanted tower block being built in Swathlling, and an unused student tower block in Wessex Lane. Have look around Southampton and tehr eare hunderds of 'student lets' and did I mention THE LARGE EMPTY TOWER BLOCK IN WESSEX LANE OWNED BY THE UNI?

  • Score: 0

8:56am Fri 11 Jan 13 elvisimo says…

dolomiteman wrote…

Student attendance numbers are down, a warning last week to landlords about their empty propertys (due to the lack of students renting) , A large unwanted tower block being built in Swathlling, and an unused student tower block in Wessex Lane. Have look around Southampton and tehr eare hunderds of 'student lets' and did I mention THE LARGE EMPTY TOWER BLOCK IN WESSEX LANE OWNED BY THE UNI?

dont shout.

  • Score: 0

8:41pm Sat 12 Jan 13 VConcerned says…

The town house in our road in Highfield converted the garage to a flat and put a conservatory on the back to cope. None done with planning permission. This is so they can put extra people in what was a family house. Planning people just let them carry on despite being told about it. Landlords should not be able to get round planning regulations and be told to put it back the way it was then apply for permission not let them get away with it.

  • Score: 0

9:01pm Sat 12 Jan 13 loosehead says…

VConcerned wrote…

The town house in our road in Highfield converted the garage to a flat and put a conservatory on the back to cope. None done with planning permission. This is so they can put extra people in what was a family house. Planning people just let them carry on despite being told about it. Landlords should not be able to get round planning regulations and be told to put it back the way it was then apply for permission not let them get away with it.

Totally agree with you

  • Score: 0

2:59am Sun 13 Jan 13 kingnotail says…

dolomiteman wrote…

Student attendance numbers are down, a warning last week to landlords about their empty propertys (due to the lack of students renting) , A large unwanted tower block being built in Swathlling, and an unused student tower block in Wessex Lane. Have look around Southampton and tehr eare hunderds of 'student lets' and did I mention THE LARGE EMPTY TOWER BLOCK IN WESSEX LANE OWNED BY THE UNI?

'tehr eare hunderds'? ffs...

  • Score: 0

3:05am Sun 13 Jan 13 kingnotail says…

sotonboy84 wrote…

Don't be fooled by this, this just means the universities will expand even more and the student population will increase. If this goes ahead, along with the plans for the Co-op site and the site at the top of Commercial Road will mean three large developments happening at the same time and it was only a few years ago that the old British Gas buildings were converted for student accommodation. This accommodation may not necessarily mean the HMO's that there currently are in the city will not be needed. Both the universities are always expanding and if they can prove that there is a suitable amount of accommodation, the number of students will increase. As Elvisimo has said, these new flats will be aimed at the wealthier students and the HMO's and the older halls of residence's will be aimed at the not so wealthy students. So in all, areas such as Polygon and Portswood, for example, will still be full of HMO's but the city will just have an even larger student population and with that comes a higher pressure on resources and undoubtedly more bars and clubs aimed at studnets. An increase in students can be a positive thing too but it seems to be full of problems in Southampton. So many areas of Southampton have been destroyed beyond repair by landlords taking advantage of the need for student accommodation, made worse by some students unsociable behaviour that have no care as they're moving on in a few years and just intend to enjoy themselves with no regard for others. The only people that will benefit here are the universities and the landlords, not Southampton or it's people.

Modern Southampton would be nothing without the university, and I think you are seriously neglecting its economic contribution to an otherwise lame-duck city. You'd be surprised at the number of students that stay on in their city of study after graduating and contribute to the economy - yes, even in an awful place like Southampton.

  • Score: 1

8:59am Sun 13 Jan 13 loosehead says…

kingnotail wrote…

sotonboy84 wrote…

Don't be fooled by this, this just means the universities will expand even more and the student population will increase. If this goes ahead, along with the plans for the Co-op site and the site at the top of Commercial Road will mean three large developments happening at the same time and it was only a few years ago that the old British Gas buildings were converted for student accommodation. This accommodation may not necessarily mean the HMO's that there currently are in the city will not be needed. Both the universities are always expanding and if they can prove that there is a suitable amount of accommodation, the number of students will increase. As Elvisimo has said, these new flats will be aimed at the wealthier students and the HMO's and the older halls of residence's will be aimed at the not so wealthy students. So in all, areas such as Polygon and Portswood, for example, will still be full of HMO's but the city will just have an even larger student population and with that comes a higher pressure on resources and undoubtedly more bars and clubs aimed at studnets. An increase in students can be a positive thing too but it seems to be full of problems in Southampton. So many areas of Southampton have been destroyed beyond repair by landlords taking advantage of the need for student accommodation, made worse by some students unsociable behaviour that have no care as they're moving on in a few years and just intend to enjoy themselves with no regard for others. The only people that will benefit here are the universities and the landlords, not Southampton or it's people.
Modern Southampton would be nothing without the university, and I think you are seriously neglecting its economic contribution to an otherwise lame-duck city. You'd be surprised at the number of students that stay on in their city of study after graduating and contribute to the economy - yes, even in an awful place like Southampton.

Yet again slagging off of this city you really are bigoted when it comes to this city aren't you? I'll say this to anyone who moves here & then slags it down the way you do why not go to this perfect place you come from as we don't want you or need you here in this great city. You seem to forget the docks & many other industries we have & you seem to think we need the Uni's? funny I remember when we only had one Uni & we had a lot more residential housing & not so many HMO's

  • Score: -1

11:41am Mon 14 Jan 13 kingnotail says…

Great city?! Don't make me laugh. Maybe a century ago!

  • Score: 0
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