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

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


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