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Development round-up: Notts scheme closer, new PBSA site in Edinburgh

One of the biggest city centre regeneration schemes in the UK moved a step closer last week (July 24) as a planning application for the first phase of The Island Quarter development was submitted to Nottingham City Council.

Phase 1A, known as Canal Turn, is set to include a three-storey, 2,000 square metres pavilion on the waterfront, featuring two restaurants, around 500 square metres of events space with panoramic views, and a large rooftop terrace. It signifies the opening phase of the £650 million development.

Additionally, the detailed planning application includes provision for a bandstand and a substantial area of new, attractive public realm. All of which, according to the plans, will open up the canal basin area ‘enhancing one of Nottingham’s most under-utilised assets’.


Christopher Ware, property director of Conygar, the developer behind the scheme, said: “We are delighted to be progressing with the planning application for Canal Turn, the first part of the first phase of The Island Quarter development. Each stage of preparing the planning application has been carefully considered and thought out and promises to create a thriving community and vibrant future for Nottingham for many years to come.”

He added: “The ultimate vision is to create a unique place that will be seen as a worldwide destination for Nottingham, providing year-round interest and community facilities and will be a place for Nottingham to come together, to live, work and enjoy.”

The overall proposals for the site, which has been dilapidated for many years, will also bring new homes, grade A office space, creative spaces, a lifestyle hotel, PRS apartments and co-working space, as well as a ‘linear’ park, vibrant community and event space and student accommodation to the city.

Furthermore, the first phase will include extensive improvement works to the canal at the London Road end of the site, to help form a focal point for The Island Quarter.

Nottingham’s planning committee approved outline planning consent for the project – which is anticipated to take up to ten years to complete – in April 2019, followed by negotiations regarding the Section 106 agreement, that was formalised with the city council earlier this year.

Richard Watson, director of Conygar Nottingham, said the company had been working closely with the architects Jestico+Whiles and the design team to develop these detailed plans.

“We have undertaken a lot of research over the last few years, not only with Nottingham City Council, but also the people of Nottingham to ensure that we are creating a development that is fit for the city and the UK.”

He added: “The whole development will be of huge benefit to the local economy and will create thousands of jobs during the build phase and beyond.”

Conygar and its partners are working closely with the Canal and Rivers Trust to create ‘an outstanding area for the Nottingham community to enjoy’.

The planning application for Canal Turn follows the broadcasting of a live webisode, hosted by Cartwright Communications on July 17, where the latest plans were revealed alongside new CGIs and a never-before seen showcase video with Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, and chief executive of Conygar, Robert Ware.

You can view the full webisode – titled ‘Introducing The Island Quarter’ – at the bottom of this story.

Maven acquires Edinburgh site to develop new PBSA scheme

A £15 million student development, set to be completed by summer 2022, is on its way to Edinburgh after Maven Capital Partners purchased a site in the Scottish capital for the development of a purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) complex.

Maven, a leading UK property and private equity manager, acquired the site for £2.8 million. It is situated in a prime location close to Haymarket in Edinburgh’s West End, and strategically placed for Heriot-Watt, Napier and Edinburgh universities.

Found only 1.1 miles from Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare, Murieston Crescent has all amenities within walking distance and also benefits from strong transport links close by.

Maven has taken Murieston Crescent through the full planning process, with permission now granted for a 120-bed PBSA development, made up of 108 studio apartments and 12 en-suite cluster flats over six floors.

The development, estimated to cost £15 million, has a practical completion targeted for summer 2022.

Despite its status as a large and popular university city, there remains an acute shortage of PBSA for students in Edinburgh. Estimates suggest that around 60% of Edinburgh’s full-time student population are unable to access either university provided or private purpose-built student accommodation.

Maven has extensive experience in the PBSA sector, where it has developed, asset managed and operated properties across the UK, including Glasgow, Dundee, Durham, Liverpool and Birmingham.

It was also the asset manager for Mill Hill, a 257-bed student accommodation complex on Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, which was sold for £25.1 million in 2018.

The Murieston Crescent transaction is Maven’s fourteenth PBSA development, taking its total number of student beds to over 2,000. 

Colin Anderson, partner at Maven, said: “The PBSA sector has a history of low volatility and, despite the wider macro-economic issues which have resulted from the Covid-19 crisis, we are continuing to see strong student sentiment to continue their education with an increase in applications this year to UK universities and colleges according to UCAS data.”

He added: “We are confident that any uncertainties around academic start dates will only have a short-term impact while markets normalise and, once global travel restrictions lift, we will once again see the UK, and in particular Edinburgh, as one of the world’s most popular hotspots for overseas students.”

“Our design team is currently reviewing various Covid-related augmentations such as contactless entry and filtered ventilation systems to ensure the building is a safe and secure environment for its residents.”

Will Scarlett of Scarlett Land and Development (SLD), who acted for the seller, commented: “SLD are delighted to have completed this transaction on behalf of The Route Finance which has required patience and tenacity by both parties. This is one of several PBSA deals brokered by SLD at the current time that demonstrate that the Edinburgh market remains solid for the right site in the right location.”

Wise Living and Lovell Build partner up to provide 40 new apartments

It’s been revealed that Build to Rent (BTR) specialist Wise Living has taken ownership of 40 new-build apartments in Telford as part of its ongoing partnership with Lovell Partnerships.

The third scheme to be completed since Wise Living announced its partnership with the developer, the two companies are working closely together on family housing PRS opportunities across the UK.

Wise Living says it is also working with a range of other partners to deploy the significant investment it has raised over the last year, with a number of other schemes currently being worked on, which are set to be announced shortly.

The 40 new-build one and two-bedroom apartments will form part of Lovell’s Principal Point development in Telford, where Lovell is delivering 165 homes.

Robert Simonds, business development director at Wise Living, said of the new apartments: “It’s great to be able to announce a second phase of PRS homes at Lovell Partnerships’ Principal Point development.”

“The partnership is very important to us, particularly as the rental market continues to put in a strong performance, despite challenges in other parts of the property market. The perception of the Build to Rent and PRS sector is changing for the better, too.”

He added: “We’ve made no secret of the fact that our ambition is to work with more developer partners in varying ways to continue delivering affordable, quality rental homes.”

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wise Living says it has witnessed a number of housebuilders starting to shift their thinking and plans on current schemes, with an increased willingness to explore the BTR sector, providing developers with options to guarantee both income and a secure exit from developments.

Stuart Penn, regional managing director at Lovell Partnerships, said: “This is the third successful scheme we have worked with Wise Living on and we are looking forward to further developing our PRS activity. We have always seen PRS as a key strategic element to our business, helping us diversify our customer base, and it’s a key ingredient to creating sustainable, cohesive and confident new communities.”

As well as Principal Point in Telford and Minshull Way in Birkenhead, Wise Living has a number of developments across the UK, including in Mansfield and Coventry. You can see more information on Principal Point and Wise Living here.


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