The two-year Park View Student Village development is now halfway through with the final building module having arrived last week.
The development has been a rapid process, with Galliford Try, the principal contractor, first beginning the design and construction process with Newcastle University in late 2015, and demolition beginning in summer 2016. The first residents will move in in September 2018.
”The university successfully donated 6,500 items of the 10,000 items of furniture from the former Richardson Road accommodation to charities.”
The £75m project, which is being made from almost 800 pre-fabricated modules produced in China, will replace the former Richardson Road accommodation. Park View Student Village will even dwarf Castle Leazes Halls, becoming Newcastle University’s largest accommodation site, with six buildings consisting of almost 1,300 en-suite bedrooms spread between 4, 6, 7 and 8-bedroom flats.
Newcastle University has endeavoured to ensure that the reconstruction project be as sustainable as possible. The University successfully donated 6,500 of the 10,000 items of furniture from the former Richardson Road accommodation to charities. In addition, to protect the large bat population of the site, two new bat houses with solar panels were built.
Despite this, the new development has raised concerns and a fierce debate about the affordability of student accommodation in Newcastle.
”I was relieved that I was assigned to Ricky Road as it was affordable. There’s only St.Mary’s now was an affordable accommodation for freshers. There should be more affordable student housing.”
Emily Land, Third Year Archeology Student
Molly Clark, a third-year English student, said “I had a look at the new accommodation and it looks lovely but also pretty expensive, which is a shame for students who can’t afford that sort of thing, being in Ricky meant I had plenty of money left over because it was so cheap!”
Emily Land, a third-year archaeology student remarked, “Recently I overheard some girls on the bus talking about how because Ricky was so old and broken it forced you to look on the positive side and make friendships; the fact that it was run down made it feel communal. I’m actually angry that it’s been demolished to make more expensive accommodation. I was relieved that I was assigned to Ricky Road as it was affordable. There’s only St Mary’s now as an affordable accommodation for freshers. There should be more affordable student housing.”
She added, “I don’t think en-suite rooms and luxury flats are necessary; in fact I think they deny people that opportunity that the girls on the bus were talking about, that slight (very slight) hardship brings people closer together.”
However, not all students have had a negative outlook on the project. Iona Hamilton, third year Modern Languages & Business student, shared: “Initially I wasn’t keen on staying at Richardson Road as it wasn’t one of my top choices, however looking back I’m so glad I got to live there for my first year. It always felt like Richardson Road was the party halls of Newcastle and there was always a buzz about the place, which made up for the lack of luxury. However I definitely think it was the right time for new accommodation to be built in its place and so far the new redevelopment looks amazing.”