25.01.2016 Age: 2 yrs

Investing in new student accommodation

Demand for quality, good value, accommodation close to where students study is currently exceeding supply. This housing shortage is a national problem which the University of London (UoL) is helping to address – when the building work on the student accommodation in Cartwright Gardens is complete the halls of residence will become the single largest new student accommodation in London.

Investing in students’ welfare has been the guiding principle behind the project to redevelop the intercollegiate accommodation. In August 2013 UoL was pleased to hear planning permission was granted, and in the summer of 2014 work began on the refurbishment.

The former Canterbury, Commonwealth and Hughes Parry Halls (collectively known as the Garden Halls) situated on the straight of the crescent that forms Cartwright Gardens are being completely redeveloped and we are now just over half way through the construction stage. The old student lodgings were architecturally typical of the mid-20th century– uninspiring to look at and lacking modern facilities due to the building constraints at the time. They had evidently come to the end of their design life and were in need of modernising to a standard that is in line with the University’s excellent academic reputation.

View (pre-demolition) from Cartwright Gardens of the Garden Halls

Artist’s impression of the new Garden Halls

The University is investing in its long term future in Camden and its student community, and this new build will stand testament to that.  The Garden Halls will provide high quality accommodation to students from across the UK and around the world, and will ease pressure on the private rental sector in Camden. Bed spaces will rise from 1,013 to 1,200, and a mix of accommodation types will be offered, from traditional halls to town-houses and cluster flats with an option to choose self-catering or catered. All of which are ideally situated in the heart of the knowledge-quarter in Bloomsbury, with great transport links.

To date, the environmental performance from the project has been impressive, with 97.3% of construction waste being diverted from landfill. Every piece of timber comes from a renewable source, with water consumption and CO2 emissions both lower than targeted.

The University is pleased that the project is on target for a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) ‘excellent’ rating.

Two local engagement projects have taken place at the Cartwright Gardens site. A group of unemployed young people from London celebrated the completion of The Prince’s Trust Get Into Construction programme, giving them the chance to gain vocational skills and training in sectors such as construction and facilities management. Maintaining good local relations is important, indeed contractors Brookfield Multiplex ran a Safety in Art competition whereby children from Argyle school drew ‘safety pictures’ and the winners had their drawings printed onto the site hoardings.

As part of the development the gardens opposite the Halls will be refurbished and opened to the public. A monument of John Cartwright (built in 1831) – an English naval officer and political reformer who once lived there – can be found here overlooking the Halls and the cohorts of students past and future.

The Prince’s Trust team

Safety in Art pictures

This project is already proving itself a huge success due to the collaboration, co-operation and commitment from stakeholders, while keeping community at the heart of this enterprise.

The project is being delivered for the University by the University Partnerships Programme and Brookfield Multiplex, and staff from all three organisations are working extremely hard to meet the completion date of September 2016, in time for the new student intake.

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