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September 2014

Work begins on £18m regeneration project in Preston

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Work begins on £18m regeneration project in Preston

Work is set to start on a £18 million regeneration project which will transform the Friargate area of Preston following the appointment of the construction company which won the contract to turn the vision into reality.


Portergate Properties has appointed long-established Preston-based builder the Eric Wright Group to deliver the ambitious mixed-use development.

The appointment follows Portergate’s pledge to utilise the skills of as many local companies as possible on the landmark scheme, which will be the biggest building project in the city.

The transformation of the strategic, but run-down 1.5 acre site will bring two new retail premises and the creation of a 253 bedroomed building aimed at providing boutique hotel-style accommodation to students at the nearby University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Part of that high-quality accommodation on offer is also aimed at post graduate students at the university and apprentices and key workers in Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new Enterprise Zone.

Portergate, which already offers hotel-class student accommodation in Salford and has plans to roll its concept out across the North West, believes the Friargate scheme will play a major role in reviving the area.


Eric Wright Group’s Construction Division has been appointed to the scheme and plans to start demolition work on the site in late autumn. The whole project will take 12-14 months to deliver.

Eric Wright is a leading construction and civil engineering group with a strong track record of delivery in high-profile development projects.

Anthony Jackson, chairman of Portergate Properties, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Eric Wright Construction to deliver our vision for Friargate.

“The appointment underlines our commitment to utilising the skills of local companies wherever possible during the construction work, helping to create and secure local jobs in the sector. That is very important to us as a North West company.


“This will be the biggest building project in Preston and the development will play a key role in our continued expansion plans in the North West viagra online usa.

“Once completed it will provide boutique hotel-style accommodation, not only for students but also for young key workers in the city, where we believe there is a real demand for this type of living space.

“Our aim throughout the project is to play a major role in transforming the fortunes of the Friargate area and our hope is that our development and commitment will encourage further investment.”

He added: “We went through a detailed and thorough process to ensure that we have appointed the very best firm to deliver this important development project.”

friargatefloorplan2John Wilson, managing director of Eric Wright Construction, said: “The fact we have been appointed to such a high-profile scheme in our home city is fantastic news.


“Portergate has done an amazing job in moving this development forward and we can’t wait to get started to turn their vision into reality.

“The development on Friargate is a great site and will be high quality, well-designed buildings that will play a big part in the regeneration of that quarter of the city.

“It is good to see the commitment to local firms being appointed to such a major development for the city, but we still had to be competitive and put in a compelling bid.

“It is also great to see people investing in Preston and its future.”

At the height of the building project around 200 workers will be employed on the Friargate development site.

The aesthetically pleasing shop and apartment complex has been designed around open garden areas while being conveniently in the heart of the city, only a short walk from the University of Central Lancashire.

The development plan has been created by Manchester architecture practice Leach Rhodes Walker.

Christian Gilham, director at Manchester-based architects Leach Rhodes Walker, said: “We are delighted to have concluded negotiations with Eric Wright Construction to build this exciting new development of state-of-the-art student accommodation in Preston.

“We see the landmark design as a catalyst for regeneration in the area and one of the first new developments to come forward in the city for some time.

“The design is a high quality, cutting edge scheme, which will provide 21st century quality of accommodation in the city.”

The Friargate project builds on the success of Portergate’s debut building Riverside House. The luxury accommodation on the banks of the Irwell in Salford has been a major success since it opened its doors to students last year.

Anthony Jackson says Friargate is part of a wider growth plan for his company. He said: “There is strong, growing demand for quality properties from investors, something we have seen since the beginning of our successful £16 million Riverside House project in Salford.


“We’re already seeing major investment in our concept of luxury boutique hotel accommodation in towns and cities with thriving universities and growing student populations.

“Investors are also looking at the growing importance of the university sector to the UK’s economy and the rising number of overseas students being attracted here.

“The student accommodation sector is seeing continuing growth and is a real property success story in the UK.

“Our business model has received a terrific response from overseas investors. They see the UK as a solid and strong place in which to invest their money.”

Happy Birthday Riverside House!

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It was party time at Riverside House as Salford student accommodation provider Portergate celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of its flagship luxury halls of residence.

It’s been a fantastic first 12 months for Riverside House, which continue to win acclaim for the quality of its boutique-style accommodation and the welcome it provides for students.


The team at Riverside House were joined by Portergate’s chairman, Anthony Jackson, and managing director, Karen Preece, in the celebration to mark the milestone, which included cake and balloons!

And the next 12 months look to be equally exciting for Riverside House and Portergate.

The company is well on course to achieve its ambition for Riverside House to be recognised as the number one location for UK and overseas students in the city.

And building work is about to start soon on its next multi-million pound project in Preston, Lancashire, as Portergate rolls out its special brand of quality student accommodation across the North West.

Anthony Jackson is delighted with the first year at Riverside and the reaction it has received.

The first 12 months has seen growing numbers of students attracted to the welcome, security and high standard of accommodation the stylish development offers.

He praised the team for their hard work and dedication over the past year and said: “The high standards we set reflect the demands and expectations of today’s students, and in particular their parents, who expect their sons and daughters to live in hotel-class accommodation while they enjoy their higher education.

“There is nothing quite like Riverside House in Salford. It highlights our total commitment to quality in everything we do.


“We are creating high-quality boutique student accommodation in stylish, contemporary buildings.

“As a company we are very passionate about what we do and we are providing new developments that are attractive to students from the UK and overseas and which also add real value to the community.”

Riverside House, which sits on the banks of the River Irwell in Blackfriars Road is a hotel-class purpose-built halls of residence containing 242 luxury en suite student rooms.

Places are still available for 2014-15 and all enquiries should go to:




Salford in the running for top honours

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Salford in the running for top honours

The University of Salford has been shortlisted in four top categories in this year’s highly-prestigious Times Higher Education Awards.

Salford student accommodation provider Portergate has congratulated the university on its strong showing in this year’s awards and in particular its student support team, which has made the final list in the “Outstanding Support for Students” category.

Announcing the news, a university spokesman said: “This nomination is for the exemplar service we have in place across the university to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of our students in crisis situations.”

Other nominations received by Salford are in the Business School of the Year and Outsanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology categories of the awards.

And Melanie Stephens, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at the School of Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences, has also made the final of the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year category.

It’s the second year in the row Salford Business School has been shortlisted for its work. Almost half its teaching colleagues now work intensively with small and medium-sized enterprises as part of their core curriculum, or to assist their students’ applied learning.

The submission also highlights the increase in graduates securing jobs or starting their own businesses, the setting up of the Centre for Social Business and the international award-winning Centre for Digital Business.

The Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology shortlisting is for The university’s “Eco Valve” project – a commercial deal with The Salford Valve Company to introduce a revolutionary eco-friendly aerosol valve system into the multibillion pound aerosol spray market.

In her shortlisting, the judges described Melanie Stephens as “an inspirational teacher” and “an exceptional listener and advisor.” They added: “She fosters interaction in and out of the classroom dig this.”

A university spokesman added: “Her innovative approach has led to international opportunities for students and colleagues across Europe, and inter-professional experiences for Health and Social Care students both within the university and the NHS. The submission was supported by testimonies from several students.”

The winners will be announced at a glittering awards dinner and ceremony on Thursday November 27 at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London.

Mature students make the grade

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Mature students make the grade

Salford student accommodation provider Portergate has welcomed new figures that reveal record numbers of mature students have been accepted into higher education.

The figures, issued by admissions service Ucas, show that more than 100,000 UK applicants aged 20 and over have now been accepted into universities and colleges this year.

The 100,700 mature students represent an increase of six per cent on last year. This is the highest number recorded at one week after A Level results day.

Acceptances from those aged 20-24 are up five per cent for the UK, with increases across the country.

There has been a seven per cent rise in acceptances from people aged 25 and over, meaning that 37,300 now have a place in higher education.

Overall UCAS has now placed 459,550 people of all ages in higher education – including 62,560 in the week since A Level results were released a week ago, 33,970 through Clearing in this period.

Mary Curnock Cook, Ucas’ Chief Executive said: “This is a welcome reminder that higher education is not just for 18 year olds after leaving school.

“For many, the right time to get the most out of going to university is later in life.”

Figures from Ucas have also revealed that substantially more students from disadvantaged backgrounds have won places at university than ever before.

More than 20,000 UK 18 year olds from the most disadvantaged areas have been accepted into universities and colleges, a rise of 1,400 or eight per cent.

Ucas says the proportion of students getting a place from the most advantaged areas has remained steady meaning the gap between rich and poor is narrowing.

While the gap between rich and poor is shrinking, the difference between men and women has increased by a further 6,000, with over 52,000 more women accepted.

Almost 80 per cent of the total increase in acceptances this year comes from women, according the Ucas figures.

Acceptances for men have increased by one per cent to 172,420 but acceptances for women have increased by four per cent to 224,570.

The Ucas chief executive said: “It is wonderful to be able to report the success that universities and colleges have had in recruiting record numbers of well-qualified students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“However, I would like to see more focus on educational achievement for boys through primary and secondary education to support improved access to Higher Education.”