Calls for 'ambition' with student accommodation in Hartlepool
Calls have been made for Hartlepool to show ‘ambition’ with its plans for student accommodation provision in the town.
Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs had previously given the go-ahead for a study to be carried out in regards to student accommodation needs in the town.
Representatives from Arc4, who have been tasked with producing the study, gave an update on how the work is progressing so far to the Regeneration Services Committee.
Councillors called for ambition to be shown with the student accommodation provision in the town and said it is important it is of a high quality.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher said the town has to offer more for students than ‘poor standard private sector accommodation’.
He said: “If we got the student accommodation right that is more conducive for a learning environment for students to excel.
“We’d be forcing landlords to really up their game in regards to accommodation.
“The reason why we’re doing this is we’ve got ambition to have the best accommodation and at the minute we’re falling short of this.”
Representatives from ARC4 said their findings indicated at this moment in time no extra student accommodation is needed, but noted there is a question over future provision.
Paul Hardman, operations director, said: “We think there is a today question and there is a future question.
“In terms of do we need any more student accommodation today, at this moment in time it is not clear that we do.
“None of the users of student accommodation are asking for more accommodation.”
He also stressed this is a project update and not a final report, and further consultation is needed with students in the town.
He said speaking to students what they wanted from accommodation included a good size room, en-suite, double bed and access to a communal area, and good management.
Earlier this year Rob Collier and John Wood MBE of Advanced Retail Solutions Ltd announced plans for new student accommodation to the rear of their newly refurbished Advanced House in Wesley Square, including the derelict Engineers Club.
Mr Collier said their research showed there was a definite demand for new student accommodation.
He said: “You’re probably not going to get these answers from the college, we struggled for the best part of the year, so we had to go knocking on the doors ourselves.
“The demand is there without a shadow of a doubt, we know from our own experience there is a good 300/400 plus just living in rented accommodation in Hartlepool, away from the halls of residence.
“There’s 10,000 students plus in Hartlepool, there’s a good chunk living in poor quality accommodation in the town.”