Students at West Suffolk College have been given the green light to build and construct new homes alongside Havebury Housing Partnership, in Bury St Edmunds.
The scheme, which has just been granted planning permission, will build seven high specification houses and flats and has been supported by architects including Kevin McCloud, from Channel 4’s Grand Designs.
It is thought to be the first time that a housing association and a College have worked together so closely to achieve a real life project that will benefit the local community and the students in their future careers.
The Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud, said: “I applaud the efforts of West Suffolk College students as they embark on the challenging and stimulating project of designing, managing and building a development of flats together with the Havebury Housing Partnership.
“This will give the students first-hand experience of the whole process involved in creating beautiful and sustainable homes, which is important as their generation will be the developers of the future.”
The designs and plans by Higher Education foundation degree students studying Construction Management and Building Services were submitted to planners at St Edmundsbury Council.
Further education students in building services and construction will now be responsible for the building from the ground up, which will be constructed on an old garage site in Mitchell Avenue, starting in September.
When the group of students return for the new term they will be working alongside external contractors at every stage of the delivery, including Havebury Housing staff, Infinity Architects, Cocksedge Building Contractors and Oxbury and Co.
The whole project was the brainchild of husband and wife Ian Newman, Lecturer in Engineering and Nuclear at West Suffolk College, and Suzanne Newman, Development Manager at Havebury Housing Partnership.
Suzanne, who is also the lead on the project, said: “We are looking forward to getting the students on site in September and creating more affordable homes in St Edmundsbury.
“This project will provide a fantastic opportunity for students to be involved in creating homes for those in housing need, whilst gaining some valuable work experience.
“It’s amazing to think that a conversation in the car with my husband will now result in seven new homes.”
Ian Newman added: “This collaboration offers an exceptional educational experience to develop the next generation of construction professionals who will be ready to meet the growing demand for new homes in the region.”
Nikos Savvas, Principal of West Suffolk College said: “This is an exceptional project that demonstrates how powerful collaborations between business and education can be.
“Colleges are the link between education and industry and we are proud of the role we play in providing the workforces of the future, and in driving economic regional growth.
“We are committed to providing educational excellence to our students and this project will offer this.
“We are honoured to be part of this project and I’d like to thank Havebury Housing for building such a vital partnership and to everyone who has got the project to this point so far, it’s been a fantastic effort.
“I’d also like to congratulate the team of HE students who created such beautiful and workable designs.”