Thursday, 15 June 2017 19:41

University Update On Furze Lane Plans

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University Update On Furze Lane Plans

Speaking to the Milton Neighbourhood Forum this month Bernie Topham, COO at the University of Portsmouth explained to Milton residents the University's decision to close their student accommodation at Furze Lane.

The closure appears to have been forced upon them due to the large number of private halls rooms being built around the city. The plan was always to keep the 600 units of accommodation at Furze Lane as they were needed along with the Greetham Street, Zurich House and Catherine House developments if the University was to meet its target of being able to offer halls rooms to all first year students. However, additional new developments mean that many more rooms than are needed for 1st years, even if the Milton site is closed, will be available.

Furze Lane comprises not just the 600 rooms in the tower (originally called Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (QEQM) Hall after she opened it in 1962) and surrounding blocks, but also a small conference centre, playing fields on both sides of Furze Lane and changing facilities. Several million has recently been spent adding 3G pitches on the St James side of the road.

Bernie commented that there were 3 drivers behind the decision to close the 600 unit accommodation blocks at the Furze Lane site.

  1. Students like being near the University and as a result, the Langstone site is less and less popular
  2. The site needs a lot of investment to bring the rooms up to the necessary standard (10's of millions were mentioned)
  3. The large volume of new student halls being built around Portsmouth and Southsea station

She went on to add that the Greetham Street (yellow box tower) that opened last September and the combined Zurich House and newly built and adjacent Catherines House which both become available this summer would provide enough halls rooms in addition to what was already available to house all first year students. However, with other developments underway or planned in Surrey Street, Isambard Brunel Road and elsewhere there could soon be 2,000 more rooms than needed and it was this fact that effectively made continuing to operate and manage Furze Lane untenable.

The rest of the site will continue to be used and the University has made no decisions on what to do with the buildings, so it is likely that they will be 'mothballed' until such time as a more cohesive plan for the site if agreed.

Transport will be required to get students to and from the sports ground, but current thoughts are along the lines of minibuses taking teams to and from and thus replacing the double deckers and the 'stopping route' they operate.  in our view, the changes to the bus service will have as great an impact on many student landlords as the plethora of new halls rooms. But we will need to wait to see how these changes affect the demograhics of the private rented sector in the city.

Last modified on Thursday, 15 June 2017 20:03

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