Rent prices are to be cut for three on-campus accommodation buildings, the University has announced.
Lewes Court (Phase 1 flats), Park Houses and Park Village will all be cheaper for the academic year 2018-19 than the previous year. Lewes Court will see a 10% reduction, to £119 per week, while Park Houses comes down to £111 and Park Village to £90, the latter down from £98.53 for 2017-18.
The decision is to make up for the loss of the most affordable on-campus accommodation, as East Slope continues to be redeveloped. Prices for the new East Slope accommodation, which is due to take its first wave of new students in 2018, have yet to be announced.
But despite the reductions, only Park Village accommodation will set students back less than £100 per week. Aside from the reductions to prices for Park Village, Park Houses and Lewes Court 1, further rent increases were announced for each of the other six accommodations (Northfield, Swanborough, Brighthelm, King’s Road, Lewes Court 2 and Stanmer Court).
Students’ Union President Frida Gustafsson said in a Union statement that “This shows just how much change can be achieved when students organise; it is a great victory for our student body!
“However, this does not mean the fight for affordable rent is over. Rent still remains incredibly high in Brighton and we need to make sure that this is seen as the first step towards affordable housing for both students and residents”
The decision comes after extensive campaigning from student groups, and reverses an ongoing trend of accommodation price rises in recent years.
Speaking to the Badger a representative of student campaigning group Sussex, Cut The Rent cautiously welcomed the move, adding that “although there are these rent cuts, there is the still the problem that there will be no places on campus for working class kids to stay in the coming years, with constant increases in rents and no willingness to install rent caps at both the top and bottom of university accommodation shows that there is still a long fight ahead of us”.
But Head of Housing Dean Spears set out in the University’s statement: “The University offers qualifying students with a £2,000 funding package, known as the First Generation Scholars Scheme (FGS) that many use towards their accommodation. Last year 62% of those students who qualified for the scheme used the funding towards upgrading their accommodation preference, representing over a £3.5M investment by the University. Our housing team both on campus and at our Lewes Road shop are here to help all our students with their housing needs every step of the way.”