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University reports rise in student applications, as revised plans for student village submitted

The revised plans reflect intensive further discussion over recent months with the Borough Council, local residents and other stakeholders, in response to issues raised about the previous plans. The building designs have been substantially reworked, and plans for managing the site have been further developed. It is expected the revised plans will be available to view on the Borough Council’s planning portal within the next few days using the reference 14/01928/FUL.

At the same time, the University has been experiencing a welcome rise in applications from students. Following the main UCAS deadline last week, when applicants for entry to courses this Autumn were required to confirm their first choice of University, the number of applicants confirming offers for places at the University of Gloucestershire has risen 18% compared with the same point last year.

Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Marston, said: “We have worked hard to improve and refine our plans for the student village at Pittville, in close consultation with Council planning officers, residents and partners. We are pleased with the progress that has been made. We are committed to developing excellent accommodation for our students, through a development which is attractively designed and well managed.

“This year’s recruitment cycle is showing that the University of Gloucestershire is increasingly attractive to students. We expect to see an increase in our enrolments this Autumn. That is good news for the University and for Cheltenham, given the many benefits that students and graduates bring to the town, contributing to a vibrant community and a prosperous economy. But this very welcome expansion only reinforces the need for additional accommodation so that we can offer students high quality, safe and well-managed accommodation with good facilities.”

Revised plans for a 791 bed village were submitted to the Borough Council earlier this week. If approved, construction would start later this year, so that the new accommodation is available for the start of the academic year in September 2017.

Since the original deferral by the planning committee in January, new architects Feilden Clegg Bradley have made substantial changes to the design, outstanding highways issues have been addressed, and amendments to the Operational Management Plan have been made in consultation with local residents, planners, the police and Environmental Health.

Stephen Marston said: “Feilden Clegg Bradley’s new designs have received a largely positive response from the Borough Council’s Architects Panel, the Cheltenham Civic Society and the public. We have also listened to local residents’ concerns about possible noise and disruption from increased student numbers. We have held three meetings with a local liaison group with representatives from the community, the police, environmental health and the ward councillors for Pittville to focus on issues that are most important to local residents. As a result our detailed plans for managing student behaviour on and around the site have also been amended and updated.

“The university has been part of the Pittville community for a long time. If the planning application is approved, we are committed to continuing to work closely with residents during the development and operation of the site, which is critical to our future prosperity and that of the town.”