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Does Islington really have such a lot of student housing?

March 16, 2010

Labour Councillors recently turned down a planning application for 360 new student rooms at 465 Caledonian Road. In the past few days, we have been asked to explain the evidence showing that Islington has an over-concentration of student housing.

The "Nido" building on Pentonville Road

During the public submission stage of the Local Development Framework Core Strategy, our analysis  showed that, by mid 2008, there were almost 4,000 students living in purpose-built accommodation in the Borough. Since then, another 1,000 student rooms have actually been built according to the latest figures supplied by Islington’s planning department. Another 2,100 student places are in the pipeline – they have planning permission or are already under construction.


That means almost 30% of of the entire population aged 18 to 24 in the Borough will be students living in purpose built accommodation. Compare this to the average elsewhere in London which is only about 5% of that age group. That means Islington has the 2nd highest concentration of student accommodation anywhere in the Capital – only Camden is higher (just).

The largest single development of student housing is in Caledonian Ward (at 200 Pentonville Road – the old twin towers formerly used by NatWest). That development alone accommodates 840 students and represents a sixth of the Borough’s entire stock of purpose-built student accommodation. The vast majority of student accomodation is concentrated in just three spots in the borough – Pentonville Road, Holloway Road (near Nags Head) and Caledonian Road (around the tube station).

Schemes that have either been recently completed or under construction are:

  • SOAS, University of London Vernon Square, Penton Rise (additional 103 bedrooms)
  • James Leicester Hall, 34, Market Road (expanded from 220 to almost 600 bedrooms)
  • 301-315, Holloway Road (316 bedrooms)

Sites where there is planning permission to build:

  • 117-119, Seven Sisters Road (185 bedrooms)
  • 29-30 Wakley Street & 312-330 Goswell Road (136 bedrooms)
  • North Star House, 556-564, Holloway Road (125 bedrooms)
  • 189-219, Isledon Road (400 bedrooms)

Two schemes that West Area Planning committee has recently refused:

  • 65-70 White Lion Street – 103 student “studios” – awaiting an appeal decision (P090892)
  • 465 and 465A Caledonian Road (378 bedspaces) – which might also go to appeal (P091813)

Three further schemes are in the pipeline (still at application stage):

  • Morris Place and John Jones Building (at Finsbury Park) – 475 bedrooms (P100197)
  • Land and Railway Arches including 45 Hornsey Road and 252 Holloway Road – 450 bedrooms (P092305)
  • North Star House 556-564 Holloway Road – 149 bedrooms (P092642)

The Labour Councillors representing Caledonian Ward and the adjoining 3 wards in West Area are strong supporters of London’s higher education presence. Paul Convery says: “The Mayor’s London Plan emphasises that Higher Education is an important part of the London economy – especially the foreign earnings generated by HE institutions. London’s economy depends on high productivity businesses and upon innovation especially in science, ICT, technology and medicine. And our fantastic arts and cultural life in London is enriched by world class humanities, performance and visual arts teaching. London’s HE institutions help underpin the Capital’s competitive advantage in these fields and undergraduates are a necessary part of the mix that makes higher education thrive.

However, a well balanced community should not have a disproportionate number of undergraduate students. Over-concentration worsens the existing high levels of population transcience and can result in a range of services especially clubs, bars and takeaway food establishments displacing conventional services and businesses. Evidence from cities such as Leeds, Nottingham and Leicester shows that a very high concentrations of students has an adverse impact on communities. We just want to get the balance right.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Alan Artus permalink
    March 18, 2010 5:56 pm

    As developer of Nido King’s Cross, I would like to comment that on HESA stats, there are 280,000 students studying full time in London. On the basis of this article, you suggest there are up to 7,100 student bedrooms in Islington assuming all current consented and projected schemes are delivered. This represents accommodation of 2.5% of London’s total full time student population, and ignores the very considerable number of students who live in London whilst studying at privately funded colleges, are on study abraod progeammes etc.
    Surely this cannot be construed as an oversupply?

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