• Cllr Jan Harwood was guest of honour at the topping out ceremony this week
  • The £110m Guilden Park development sits in an area chronically underserved by Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA)
  • The 533-bed project will be completed in time for the 2021 academic year

The topping out of one of Guildford’s most important new developments was celebrated this week — the £110million Guilden Park student accommodation scheme.

Cllr Jan Harwood — Guildford Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing — helped celebrate the milestone with Andrew Southern, the founder of student accommodation specialist Future Generation, and Dominic Trainor, contracts director at construction partner McAleer & Rushe yesterday (Tues).

The 533-bed scheme in Lido Rd is regarded as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Future Generation’s student portfolio. It is the largest scheme the company has ever created and will showcase more integrated technology than ever, as part of its partnership with Samsung.

Every room will have Samsung WiFi, TVs and air-conditioning as standard. The air conditioning isolates air from individual rooms and uses an anti-bacterial filtration system. Students will also benefit from a karaoke room, games room, private dining room, a fully-equipped gym, ground-floor courtyards and a signature Sky Lounge with roof terrace.

Guilden Park will be made up of both shared apartments and private studios with views across Stoke Park. It is set for completion in time for the start of the 2021 academic year and will help to meet huge demand in an area grossly underserved by Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA). PBSA accounts for less than 1% of Guildford’s rental stock, with the vast majority of students currently renting from private landlords.

This is despite the Surrey town being home to four major educational institutions — the University of Surrey, Guildford College, the Academy of Contemporary Music and the University of Law.

Cllr Jan Harwood, Guildford Borough Council’s Liberal Democrat cabinet member for housing, said:

“It was fantastic to see Guilden Park progressing despite the challenges 2020 has thrown at it. High quality student accommodation is hugely important to the future success of our town. I look forward to Guilden Park opening its doors to the next generation of students.””

Andrew Southern, Chairman of Southern Grove and Future Generation, commented:

“Guilden Park is the jewel in the crown of the Future Generation portfolio to date. It is the largest development we’ve ever created and it will be stocked to the gills with technology thanks to an incredible partnership we have with Samsung. Our future tenants will enjoy the highest standard of living available to students anywhere in the country.”

Dominic Trainor, Contracts Director at McAleer & Rushe, commented:

“We’re incredibly proud of our team in Guildford who have fought on to deliver huge progress in difficult circumstances this year. Our relationship with Future Generation began with this project and to mark its ‘topping out’ is an opportune time to thank them and their Development Partner, Tadhamon Capital for the unwavering support and trust during the past few months. This begins the final chapter in completing the project and we remain focused in our engagement initiatives within the local community in the Guildford area.”

Hesham Al Gassab, Executive Director of Bahraini investment manager Tadhamon Capital, commented:

“Despite a challenging year, we are really proud of our development partner and contractor for achieving this great milestone. We have been a big believer in this scheme since inception and we can see the finish line fast approaching. By next summer we will be delivering, in addition to this site, around 1,500 student beds across England, bringing the total number of high-quality student beds in our portfolio to more than 2,000.”