This would be Vita's third residence in Newcastle. Credit: Vita

Vita invites input on Barker & Stonehouse plans

The student living specialist plans to demolish the Newcastle building, combining new-build there with redevelopment of the neighbouring Strawberry House in a 250-apartment project.

A public event will be held this week, while the consultation website is now live for the Strawberry Gardens scheme, on Leazes Park Road.

The professional team on the job includes DPP, heritage consultant Simpson Brown and Hydrock, which is delivering fire safety consultancy, geo-environmental and geo-technical engineering, and civil and structural engineering consultancy.

Like most UK cities, the volume of students in Newcastle has climbed over the last decade, with 25% growth leading to 52,000 people studying in the city each year.

The number of international students, who are in general more likely to occupy purpose-built student accommodation, has grown by 55% since 2016 in Newcastle, Vita said.

Under the Vita Student brand, the developer wants to create  250 studio apartments supported by social and study space and a gym.

The company’s sites have an on-site operations team delivering daily events, housekeeping, security and other services. The new-build element will be part-five and part-six storeys.

Vita Student currently has two residences in the city, Vita Student Westgate and Strawberry Place. This site has been freed up by the departure of furniture retailer Barker & Stonehouse to Gateshead’s Metrocentre earlier this year.

Max Bielby, Vita Group chief operating officer, said: “We’re delighted to share our ideas for the former Barker & Stonehouse building and look forward to meeting local residents and the wider city to talk through our proposal.

“Newcastle has a fantastic reputation as a great place to study, this reputation continues to draw more students’ year-on-year, creating greater demand on the city’s infrastructure, the redevelopment of this scheme could help to alleviate some of those pressures whilst adding to the city, creating a new thriving community.”

Part of the Select Property group, Vitas has become a major player in the PBSA market in recent years, having particular strength in its native Manchester, where the 500-bedroom House of Social is its latest project to come forward.

The site is close to St James’ Park. Credit: consultation documents

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