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Build to Rent – Notts scheme update, single-family homes and lets with pets

Plans for the latest phase of The Island Quarter development were approved by Nottingham City Council.

The approved plans are set to help alleviate Nottingham’s student bed shortage, featuring a 702-bed purpose-built student development with blocks dedicated to a range of accommodation types, including studios and cluster living.

Amenities for the students in this latest phase of The Island Quarter include high-level sky lounges that offer projected views across the city and a pavilion with views onto a private courtyard space that will provide the opportunity for working, socialising, dining and exercising.


The approved plans also feature multi-media lounges and co-working spaces, as well as gaming zones and quiet areas for study and relaxation.

The new accommodation – which forms part of the developer’s plans for intergenerational living on The Island Quarter, the £1 billion 36-acre redevelopment – is likely to start on site shortly and be available to students from the start of the 2023/24 academic year.

With Nottingham facing an expected shortfall of 7,000 student beds in the coming years, the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) on The Island Quarter is aiming to free up family homes currently used by students and help return them to their intended use.

Christopher Ware, property director at Conygar, says: “We’re delighted that the planning committee has approved the plans for the proposed student accommodation on The Island Quarter.”

“Nottingham is a world-renowned university city, and the student population is growing rapidly to reflect that. Add in the demand from second and third-year students to remain in PBSA, and it is clear there is a real need for quality student beds in the city.”

He adds: “This element of the scheme really supports our plans for intergenerational living across the site. One of the biggest impacts of the pandemic has been that people of all ages are reassessing their relationship with where they live, and we want to create places and spaces where people can live, work and thrive.”

The Island Quarter masterplan, which received outline planning approval in April 2019, has been designed with a full lifecycle of uses, including hotels and hospitality, office space and community living.

Recent changes to the plan were made in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, adding 10,000 square metres more green space to the site and rethinking the street plan to create an ‘urban river’.

Work on the vast redevelopment is progressing at pace, with the first phase of the Canal Turn – at the opposite end of the site - set to open to the public in early next summer.  

To help accelerate the development’s progress, The Island Quarter has been included in the city council’s Levelling Up Fund bid, which is designed to support ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects that will boost local economies. 

Purpose-build single-family homes for rent coming to Eddington

Hundreds of eco-friendly smart homes designed for rent are to be delivered as part of the University of Cambridge’s development in Eddington.

Present Made, a purpose-built and designed single-family rental housing platform, has been appointed by the University of Cambridge to develop sustainable smart homes as part of its ambitious 150-hectare Eddington master-plan.

Under plans submitted to Cambridge City Council, Present Made will develop and operate close to 370 rental homes - including the UK’s first family houses to be designed and built exclusively for rent - as part of a new neighbourhood that will promote healthy and sustainable living.

The £160 million scheme, and the broader Present Made concept, has been curated by award-winning Jo Cowen Architects, and is centred around the four pillars of:

  1. Activated public realm – from Liveable Streets to a Raised Garden Court, residents will benefit from a range of outdoor spaces that facilitate connectedness to nature and each other, wellbeing, walking, cycling and exercise as part of a design that prioritises people above cars

  2. Community creation – a range of internal and external amenity spaces combined with a year-long calendar of communal events will encourage residents to meet and get to know their neighbours

  3. Professional management – Present Made will retain ownership and control of the completed development, with residents benefiting from an on-site management team that is readily available, handling any maintenance issues speedily as well as organising regular socials

  4. Talent retention – by offering a new type of high-quality rental housing that has never been seen before in the UK, Present Made at Eddington will help Cambridge capture and retain talent by providing an attractive alternative to homeownership that is both flexible and secure in tenure

Residents will further benefit from Present Made’s corporate focus on sustainability, with the company targeting a net-zero carbon operational model as part of a wider ESG-driven strategy.

The homes at Eddington will be highly energy-efficient thanks to a combination of smart technology and modern methods of construction, with the houses precision engineered in a factory environment in a process that is less wasteful, disruptive and time consuming compared to traditional construction techniques.

Eddington is the first site within Present Made's initial £1.6 billion development pipeline, which will see over 3,000 precision-engineered smart rental homes delivered across the south of England.

The company has a further three sites in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc in addition to Eddington, with further announcements expected later this year. The region is one of the UK's most innovative and productive but also has some of the highest housing costs.

Richard Jackson, co-founder of Apache Capital and chief executive officer at Present Made, comments: “It is a privilege to be working alongside the University of Cambridge in delivering the UK’s first family homes to be specifically designed and built for rent.”

“This would not have been possible had it not been for the strategic concept, design and development by Jo Cowen Architects, which was central to the University of Cambridge's decision to select Present Made.”

He adds: “Present Made homes will sit in master-planned, landscape-led communities that have been designed around people not cars, to promote active, healthy and sustainable lifestyles.”

Jackson says Present Made will ‘own, develop and operate beautiful, sustainable homes for the long term’.

“Our aim is to create a new way of living, providing aspirational yet attainable housing set within living streets and active communities that are integrated with their surroundings. Our vision is to encourage healthy and sustainable lifestyles, making them second nature to our residents,” he adds.

“Present Made will help the University and City attract and retain talent as part of a multi-tenure diversified intergenerational community to complement the exceptional placemaking and quality of mixed-use development already delivered by the University.”

Lets with pets the most popular BTR feature

Pet-friendly renting is now the most common feature of today’s Build to Rent (BTR) developments, research has found.

Build to Rent is fast becoming the de facto choice for young, professional renters who want the flexibility of renting combined with the freedom and added luxury normally associated with homeownership.

Manor Interiors, which specialises in BTR furnishing solutions, analysed the most common features found in those developments currently being listed on the market to gain a further understanding of why tenants are increasingly drawn towards such developments.

It found the most common feature shared among Build to Rent developments currently advertising for tenants is pet-friendly homes – something that the traditional private rental sector has consistently failed to offer on any grand scale.

Approximately 47% of the BTR developments actively being listed state that they are pet friendly, a direct response to increasing frustration felt by tenants as private landlords continually fail to adapt to the UK’s increasing desire to live with furry friends.

After ‘pet friendly’, the second most common build to rent feature is car parking, a common feature shared by 40% of the developments currently being advertised.

Some 33% of Build to Rent developments come with an on-site concierge, perhaps due to increasing demand from tenants wanting to ensure their online shopping can be safely and reliably received.

Meanwhile, 27% of developments offer free WiFi to all tenants, 26% offer a resident’s lounge or other shared communal socialising space, 20% offer an on-site gym, 12% offer some sort of communal garden space, 11% allow tenants to move in without requiring them to pay a deposit, and 7% offer a roof terrace.

Farhan Malik, chief executive officer of Manor Interiors, comments: “Build to Rent is increasing in popularity so quickly because it offers a truly modern renting experience. After decades, if not centuries of an unchanged private rental industry, tenants are starting to kick back against the poor standards and inflexibility common among private landlords.”

“It’s clear that the build to rent industry has listened to these renter frustrations and responded by ensuring that their developments cater to the evolving expectations and needs.”

He concludes: “We see this in the fact that nearly half of build to rent developments are pet friendly, an increasingly common renter demand that private landlords have long refused to engage with.”


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