Note: I wrote & posted this in Sept 2015 but for some reason it’s just popped up now, weird!
Blimey, it’s not exactly the Young Ones is it? Those of you old enough to remember the grimy squats of the past will be a tad shocked at these images of luxury Leeds student living replete with concierge, hotel style bedroom, Googlesque boardroom, swish gym and inspiration wall murals of big and brainy men.
So far, so impressive but seriously, is this how students, taking their first tentative steps away from home and cutting mummy’s apron strings, should be living?
Bang. Straight from home comforts to 5 (or apparently 7) star living. Home schmome, forget your parent’s 1930’s semi, urban terrace or even country pile, this is your future kiddo. This is you, pool table, meetings and metropolis bedroom backdrop. You, in your first term, literally are Gordon Gekko for £140 a week, bills and continental breakfast included.
Only, well, you’re not, are you. You’re probably an international student or one with wealthy parents. You’ve always lived like this and you always will, and now you will as a student too. You can look down on those saddos living in grimy digs or cheaper halls accommodation, as you text the personal trainer to meet you by the free weights. Life, for you, will always be like this, even if you get a third, or no degree at all.
But maybe, just maybe, you are the student who has stretched themselves and paid the extra for luxury student living at £560 a month…. or got mum & dad to. What happens then? You graduate, with debts, enter the real world and it’s face palm time. Your property life really is going to be one big disappointment as you realise that nowhere else in the UK will you get this standard of living for £140 a week. Instead of living in typical student digs, revelling in communal living and then (hopefully) everywhere you ever live in the future being better, it’ll be completely the opposite. Every single one of your future homes won’t live up to where you lived as a student. How awful is that??!
For me, this type of luxury student living is both divisive and unrealistic. Student living shouldn’t be about unrivalled luxury but mucking in, growing up and becoming an adult, not pretending to be a successful one before you’ve even started. Isn’t giving everything to kids on a plate a sure fire way to encourage the dreaded entitlement creeping in everywhere – “I deserve it, because I am me”.
There is a move towards more and better University accommodation, it’s happening in my area of South Mcr right now with the Owen’s Park redevelopment and that’s a good thing when managed well by Universities. But going this far? Creating havens of excess luxury for regular students is setting them up for a lifetime of disappointment in my opinion, and I say that as a landlord who spends a lot of time, money and effort on design and liveability at my rentals.
Daft schemes like this Leeds one are all bling and no bollocks. I’d rather our future students learned how to live in communities, be adults and grow the latter, rather than simply be handed the former on a gilded plate.
NB. As a non-student landlord, I mostly have tenants paying between £375 and £600 per month for lovely self-contained accommodation, albeit no gym, no concierge & no breakfast, in a highly sought after location in Manchester. They work, i.e. they have actual money coming in to pay the rent (unlike the students somehow paying for the above). And guess what, some of them really struggle. Even salaried and sensible, some end up going back into shared accommodation because living on your own in ‘luxury’ is bloody expensive.