1. Why has this location been chosen for purpose-built student accommodation?

The Longcross Court site has been chosen by Fusion Students as it is located within central Cardiff, a city which has strong demand for additional purpose-built student accommodation, and is in close proximity to Cardiff University and University of South Wales campuses.

2. Why does Cardiff need more student accommodation?

More student accommodation is required in Cardiff as there is on-going strong demand for additional purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). A recent report by Cushman & Wakefield states that there has been an increase in full-time student numbers in Cardiff from 2012/13 to 2021/22 of 10,295 students, which has not been met with a corresponding increase in purpose-built accommodation.

Furthermore, a recent study produced by Knight Frank in 2022 found that there were 38,465 full-time students in Cardiff, but only circa 17,440 bed spaces (PBSA + university accommodation). Thus 55% of students in Cardiff were unable to access purpose-built student accommodation. This equates to a student to bed ratio of 2.2:1. The provision of additional PBSA will help to reduce the on-going reliance on HMOs, thus over time freeing up HMO student housing to the wider market.

3. Will this building be sustainable?

The building will be designed to obtain BREEAM Excellent at a minimum, with an aspiration of achieving an Outstanding rating. A ‘Fabric first’ construction approach will be used – i.e. maximising the performance of the components and materials that make up the building fabric itself, before considering the use of mechanical or electrical building services systems. Passive energy efficiency measures will be utilised where possible. It is expected that air source heat pumps will be installed.

4. Why can’t you refurbish the existing building?

Corstorphine & Wright has undertaken a detailed analysis of the existing building and assessed a number of options involving retention of all or part of the existing building. Key constraints identified include:

  • Existing massing gives poor street engagement and enclosure
  • Existing structure does not align well with optimum bedroom units
  • Existing commercial heights are inefficient for residential

As well as creating an inefficient scheme, the consultant team felt that the existing massing could be improved to enhance the streetscape and sense of enclosure and celebration of the gateway into the city.

A partial retention scheme was considered but has issues around transitions into new build elements. Ultimately, a new build scheme will give greater site benefits.

5. What’s the project timeline?

It is expected that a planning application will be submitted to Cardiff Council in May 2024. The application will likely take circa 3-4 months to determine, presuming good progress is made. Assuming a planning permission is issued, it is expected that demolition of the existing building will commence by end 2024 / early 2025.