Pandemic forces rethink of St Andrews student accommodation plans

Pandemic forces rethink of St Andrews student accommodation plans

An indicative visual of how Block B could look (Image by Campus Living Villages)

The University of St Andrews has resubmitted multi-million-pound plans for a major new student residence on the site of Albany Park.

Working with its partner Campus Living Villages (CLV), the university has revised the design to increase the number of student beds the development would provide from 672 to 710.

The university said the pandemic, worldwide economic downturn and the subsequent hike in the cost of building materials made its original plans for the site unfeasible.

The proposed development is part of a series of significant investments designed to provide additional purpose-built accommodation for students over the next few years. It is hoped this will also help relieve pressure on local housing stock in St Andrews and lessen demand on the private rented sector.

A new Planning Application Notice (PAN), which has been submitted to Fife Council, will be followed by public consultation events at the Byre Theatre on Wednesday 7 June and Wednesday 28 June at which representatives of the project design team, the University and CLV will outline the new plans for Albany Park, answer questions and hear views from the public.

The outdated 1970s accommodation at East Sands was demolished in 2020.

The university’s chief operating officer, quaestor and factor, Derek Watson, said: “The development at Albany Park is key to the University’s strategy to provide more accommodation for our students and ease the pressure on housing stock in St Andrews. Despite recent volatility in the markets, particularly the construction industry, we have remained committed and optimistic this plan can become a reality.

“If approved, the new Albany Park will provide more than 700 high-quality student beds in an attractive landscaped environment which will improve amenity in the east of the town.

“The development has the potential to revitalise the eastern area of St Andrews and we are looking forward to putting our proposals to the local community and hearing their views.”

A range of student rents will be available, and substantial bursary and support packages are in place to assist with costs. St Andrews currently offers more than £24 million a year in student scholarships and bursaries to help with the costs of living, study and accommodation.

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