Monthly Archives

July 2016

New £18m housing project aims to counter the brain drain

By | Portergate News, Uncategorised | No Comments

Lancashire’s first bespoke accommodation aimed at apprentices, first-time employees and key workers is set to open in Preston in September.

By providing modern, affordable homes for young workers, the development company behind the newly built £18 million residential complex in the city’s University Quarter is looking to help halt the ‘brain drain’ affecting efforts to revitalise the region’s economy.

There is growing concern in Lancashire about the impact of people in their twenties leaving the region for the south east.

New research from consultancy KPMG has revealed the number of 25-34 year olds in Lancashire fell by more than 10 per cent between 1993 and 2013.

And there are fears the exodus of young workers from the North of England will impede efforts to establish the burgeoning Northern Powerhouse economic regeneration project.

Portergate, the North West-based property firm behind Friargate Court, says 63 of its apartments and studios in the new development will cater for the demand for post-college and university housing for young people who are starting their working lives.

Company bosses believe the availability of quality, affordable student-style accommodation could be one of the key factors in helping to keep young people in the area once their studies are completed.

The accommodation is also aimed at apprentices and young workers at the new Lancashire Enterprise Zone, which will form a centre of excellence for high technology manufacturing, generating wealth-creating benefits for the whole county.


It aims to create 6,000 highly skilled jobs, plus a further 5,000 to 7,000 in the local supply chain. Advanced manufacturing and aerospace firms such as BAE Systems also have expanding apprenticeship programmes aimed at attracting talent to the sector.

Friargate Court is an £18 million mixed use development on Friargate, next to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), with key worker accommodation, student apartments and shops and cafes.

It will be managed 24/7 by Portergate Property Management with a daytime accommodation manager, concierge, housekeepers, on-site maintenance and overnight manned security all included in the rental.

Karen Preece, Portergate’s managing director, says: “We have a lot of experience in the student accommodation sector and we know there is a demand for young people to continue their student lifestyle once they start their working lives.

“We hope that by offering this type of accommodation we will help persuade more young people to remain in the area once their studies are over. We also hope apprentices and key workers will be attracted by the lifestyle we can offer them in the heart of the city.

“Many are simply not ready or able to buy a home or move into more traditional property types. They have grown up with shared student accommodation and like it.

“What we offer over and above the norm is secure, well-managed, high spec homes they can live in for as long as they want hassle-free and concentrate on making a success of their working and personal lives.

“It’s a smart way for young people to manage the stresses of modern life and it will be a big success. We believe we are creating an entirely new sector in the UK housing market.”

The complex is being finished over the summer by Preston-based Eric Wright Construction ready for the autumn. Enquiries and bookings are already being taken from young people eager to be the first to live in the most desirable new address in the city.

Portergate’s debut residence, Riverside House in Salford, has provided the blueprint for Friargate Court and it has been a huge success, selling out in only its second year since opening.

Portergate’s accommodation and hands-on management appeals to students, key workers and apprentices looking for a more than basic student or post-graduate living style, as well as their parents who welcome the care and attention offered by the staff.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-1713 alignleft" src="×83.jpg" alt="20160712_144554" width="300" height="83" srcset="×83.jpg 300w,×212.jpg 768w, http://studentaccommodation my 1024w,×260.jpg 940w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />Prices at Friargate Court will start from £135 for a fully furnished and well-equipped en suite room in a standard apartment containing between two and five bedrooms, a living area and large kitchen.

Large standard, superior and studio apartments are available to rent now through Portergate’s own website – – or through the joint agents, the Property Place in Manchester and a Preston-based agent.

Karen Preece adds: “We are excited to be taking bookings at Friargate Court; we have been inundated with enquiries from both the UK and from overseas students from all parts of the world.

“Preston is a vibrant, popular city attracting young people from all walks of life and the university next door to Friargate Court has ambitious plans for making its campus even better.

“Friargate Court will be setting a very high standard for its accommodation and that can only be good for Preston and Lancashire and its employers aiming to attract workers.”

Portergate prides itself on the quality and levels of service and support residents at its hotel-class properties receive once they move in and recruitment is underway for the best staff to run the residence.

Karen continued: “The tremendously high standards Portergate sets reflect the demands and expectations of today’s young people, as well as their parents, who expect their sons and daughters to live in well designed, safe accommodation while they make a home away from home.

“Everyone who works at Portergate is very passionate about what we do, with a total commitment to quality and that’s what the new team we will be recruiting at Friargate Court will deliver.”20160712_144501

Paul Walton, director of PWA Planning, a Preston-based town planning and development consultancy, said: “Intermediate housing, which can bridge the gap between student accommodation and more traditional market housing, has a crucial part to play in the economic success of Preston, be this housing intended to provide accommodation for workers in key services, or transitional accommodation for recent graduates or apprentices.

“The latter is something which is key to a city like Preston, where the retention of recent graduates, particularly from UCLan, is crucial to assisting in limiting the movement of talent towards the perceived riches of the South East region and even the bigger cities of the North West.”

Notes To Editors

For more information, interviews and images, please contact Neil Thornton:

  2. +44 (0)7852 334 343


Apprentices the key to economic success

By | General News, Uncategorised | No Comments

The announcement that almost £11million of funding will drive forward a significant expansion in training places and apprentices in key sectors of Lancashire’s economy is more good news for the county.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is behind this latest initiative which will support nine projects worth more than £34m across the county.

The LEP says that its aim is to support a network of modern, high quality educational and training facilities that will look to improve skills levels.

Among many projects, the money will help back skill development initiatives at BAE Systems impressive new training centre, which is emerging at its Samlesbury site on the outskirts of Preston.

The LEP says that in aerospace and advanced manufacturing as many as 21,800 extra skilled tradespeople and qualified professionals and managers will be needed by 2022.

Friargate Court, our new £18m development in Preston, will be the first bespoke accommodation aimed at this next generation when it opens its doors later this year.

Our aim is to provide modern, affordable accommodation for young workers as they set off on their path to career success.

We also want to help keep more young people in the area once their studies are completed, halting an exodus of talent that threatens to prevent the county’s economic growth and to provide homes for workers moving into the area.

We believe the accommodation we are creating is ideal for apprentices and young workers at the new Lancashire Enterprise Zone based at BAE System’s two sites in Samlesbury and Warton.

That new zone will form a centre of excellence for high technology manufacturing, generating wealth-creating benefits for the whole county.

It aim is to create 6,000 highly skilled jobs, plus a further 5,000 to 7,000 in the local supply chain. Local advanced manufacturing and aerospace firms such as BAE Systems also have expanding apprenticeship programmes aimed at attracting talent to the sector.

Riverside House stays as good as new when major improvements protect the asset

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More than a dozen significant improvements have been made to Riverside House keeping the student residence as fresh as the day it opened in 2013.

The programme of improvements, replacements and additions carried out by parent company Portergate, and managed by Portergate Property Management (PPM), ensures the 242-room accommodation remains in excellent condition throughout.

PPM’s management policies have evolved since opening the doors of Riverside House to students for the first time in September 2013 to ensure the en suite rooms and all the communal areas are in as good a condition – if not better – than when they were built.

Student accommodation has changed beyond recognition in the past five years, according to the most informed expert sources, and the management team at PPM has led the way.

Managing director Karen Preece says: “We recognised early that students and their parents would be looking for a much better standard of accommodation than the UK student housing market had traditionally provided.

“En-suite bathrooms, fast Wi-Fi and modern décor are fast becoming the norm and we provide all these to our residents, many of whom come from overseas.

“By maintaining a high standard and enforcing, albeit with a light touch, our strict but fair ‘house rules’ we can ensure the quality of accommodation has not dipped.”

PPM understands students and their parents are choosier than they used to be. The tripling in 2012 of the maximum tuition fees for undergraduates to £9,000 a year has contributed to rising expectations among students of both their courses and their living conditions.

Investors who have bought into private student housing in the UK are sometimes disappointed by the way their investment has been allowed to deteriorate due to poor hands-off management and sub-standard service.

Not at Riverside House. The 24/7 hands-on management is paying off as Riverside House looks as good now as it did the day it opened.

“We will continue to look after Riverside House as if it were our own home and protect our asset along the way,” says Karen.

“All the improvements mean we continue to be very popular with discerning students and we will remain at the top of students and their parents’ wish list for accommodation in Manchester and Salford for years to come.

“In fact, because we have continually improved and upgraded rooms, the communal areas, the exterior of the building including external landscaping, I believe the clusters in Riverside House are actually in better shape now than when they were first built.”

Some of the improvements made since September 2013:

  • Replaced carpets throughout the communal corridors
  • Vinyl flooring has been replaced with superior Amtico tiles in all cluster kitchens and living rooms
  • LED lighting installed in communal and cluster corridors
  • Hardwired Ethernet cables have been added to each bedroom
  • The Wi-Fi system has been upgraded with all Wi-Fi access points replaced and capacity increased
  • The CCTV system protecting Riverside House has been improved with more cameras inside and out
  • A smoking shed is a new addition keeping all other areas smoke-free and clean
  • The very popular bicycle storage area has been upgraded
  • New paving has been added to the front entrance and around the car park area
  • Two new benches have been installed in the car park
  • Greenery, plant and shrubs make the external areas look fantastic
  • New planting troughs have been added and lots of box shrubs in multiple areas and Spring bulbs planted


Manchester and Salford remain at the top of the most desirable places to live for students and its housing market is as strong as anywhere in the UK.

As a result, demand for rental property in Manchester, such as Riverside House, is understandably at an all-time high, not only from tenants but investors looking to make a shrewd purchase.

In addition, Manchester has the largest university population in the country, it’s the third largest city in the UK, so demand will remain high for high quality accommodation.

Maintaining standards at Riverside House remains at the top of PPM’s ‘To Do List’ to ensure this popular residence remains at the top of new students’ ‘Wish List’.