Cambridgeshire County Council shells out £38m to buy 251 block of student fats in Cambridge as part of new investment strategy

Cambridgeshire County Council has bought the 251 bed Brunswick House on Newmarket Road, Cambridge, f

Cambridgeshire County Council has bought the 251 bed Brunswick House on Newmarket Road, Cambridge, for £38 million. The complex comprises luxurious student accommodation and the council says it will make a good return on its investment. - Credit: Archant

A luxurious 251 bed student accommodation block in Cambridge – where the average rents are £200 a week – has been bought for £38 million by Cambridgeshire County Council as part of an investment strategy.

The flats at Brunswick House on Newmarket Road offer a range of private studios and en-suite rooms with communal areas; all utility bills are included and there’s free Wi-Fi.

The council says it is their first acquisition as it tries to build a portfolio of investments.

It is hoping the investment will enable them to “plough back £1.9 million into vital frontline services – as well as supporting more students to find high quality accommodation in the city”.

Completion of the purchase, agreed by the council’s commercial and investment committee, was reported to members at this week’s general purposes committee.

The council says is all part of a plan to invest a total of £100m raised from sales of land to the property offshoot This Land Ltd, a development company owned by the council.

“As a result the council is increasing its total asset portfolio, improving the supply of homes to Cambridgeshire residents, and creating an on-going revenue stream,” said a council spokesman.

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Council leader Steve Count said: “With rising demand for our services, we are determined to consider all opportunities to invest in schemes that will help us maintain and improve our service levels and stand on our own feet financially.

“Our ethos of transformation, commercialisation and sound financial management means we are better able to deal with financial pressures, meaning cutting back on services is a last resort.”

He said: “We are being economically prudent, and are taking advantage of current low interest rates which means we can make a return as well as improve the local area.

Cllr Count said Cambridge faced a severe shortage of student accommodation with 44 per cent of students currently unable to access university or private sector purpose built student accommodation in the city – amongst Anglia Ruskin students (the nearest university to this building) the figure rises to 77 per cent.

Brunswick House offers 231 ensuite rooms and 20 self-contained studio flats in a building directly opposite Anglia Ruskin University’s computer science centre.