New Beeston student scheme to boost buzzing town centre

Midlands-based developer Cassidy Group has submitted a planning application for a mixed-use scheme at the edge of Beeston town centre that will breathe new life into a derelict site – and bring increased footfall and economic benefit to local retailers.

Built using sustainable materials, the seven-storey mixed use scheme of retail/commercial units will feature stylish student accommodation – meeting the needs of modern student life and freeing up a huge number of Beeston and city HMO student houses for families to move into.

The 419-bed scheme in Station Road, next to The Arc Cinema and Tesco, is a few minutes’ walk from the University of Nottingham campus and is on the tram route. The scheme is situated next to new exciting bars and restaurants such as Ottimo and the forthcoming Beeston Social.

Sam Rose, of Cassidy Group, said: “We are excited to bring this student scheme to Beeston. Not only will students love living there – so close to the amenities they enjoy, as well as their university campus – but we are bringing a derelict site back to life.

“We feel the scheme fits well with the fantastic Beeston town centre that is emerging as a busy and exciting place to be, both day and night. We know from our research that Beeston is becoming a more desirable place for families and students to live. By providing purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), we can open up HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) for families to live in.

“By creating sensitively designed student schemes with fabulous interiors like the one we are proposing for Beeston, we know we can not only create something that benefits the local area – but also an additional student environment where people really want to live.”

Cassidy says the scheme will rely heavily on local transport. It will provide limited parking – allowing only for deliveries and disabled parking – because of the variety of public transport access through bus, tram, and pedestrian routes. It is just a few minutes’ walk from Beeston Railway Station.

The scheme will provide 318 classic studios of 16 square metres, 76 classic plus studios of 16 to 20 square metres, and 25 premium/accessible studios of between 26 and 30 square metres.

“The proposed development will attract students from the University of Nottingham. To discourage students from parking on or near the site, we will be making sure that students take full advantage of all the transport services, as well as scooters and bicycles. We will also be providing travel passes for students to use the tram,” said Sam.

“Encouraging students to use Beeston’s extensive public transport network will benefit the environment, as will the scheme’s energy-efficient design, which guarantees an EPC rating of at least ‘B’-grade, if not ‘A’.”

Figures produced by the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) show a full-time student population of 63,000 in Nottingham in 2019, up by 22.1% since 2015. Acceptances from both universities have also been rising. Since 2015 the University of Nottingham has seen an increase in yearly acceptances of 13.1% and NTU has seen an increase of 56% in the same period.

“An independent report found that 69% of direct let beds available in Nottingham are provided by HMOs, with less than one third provided by private PBSA operators. In Beeston, with no direct let PBSA available, 100% of the direct let accommodation on offer to students consists of Beeston houses split into flats,” added Sam.

“With Beeston continuing to be popular with families, we know from speaking to local estate agents that there are few places for them to move into – so our planned first PBSA will release those houses to the people who really need them.”

The research also found that annual demand growth in Nottingham for student accommodation at 4.9% could mean a shortfall of student beds in the city of at least 6,021 by 2024.

“There are currently no live PBSA developments south-west of the University of Nottingham and so this Cassidy scheme is really needed,” added Sam.

Businessman Ross Considine, who owns the nearby Ottimo, said: “I am sure I speak for a number of retailers and bar-restaurant owners when I say that I would welcome this scheme with open arms.

“We opened our third bar-restaurant in Beeston because we could see what an amazing, lively town centre it is. In our first few weeks of opening, we have had great feedback – and have also welcomed students. This scheme will further boost local shops and restaurants and of course local transport. Student footfall boosts local economies, and the student spend is worth tens of thousands of pounds a year for Beeston – and that must not be forgotten. We want the town to continue to be the bustling, lively and exciting place it is.”

The scheme will be going to planning committee in July and there will be public engagement sessions for the local community and local businesses in May and June. Cassidy is working on six other mixed-use schemes across Nottingham.