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The purchase of a purpose built student accommodation block in Cambridge, will allow Cambridgeshire County Council to plough £1.9m a year back into vital frontline services – as well as supporting more students to find high quality accommodation in the city.

The council’s investment of £38m in the 251 bed Brunswick House on Newmarket Road, is the first acquisition in its strategy to build a portfolio of investments that both support its objectives - and raise an excellent return, helping to safeguard the future of vital services for people across the county.

The completion of the purchase, agreed by the council’s Commercial and Investment committee, was reported to Members in this week’s General Purposes Committee.

This is the Council’s first major purchase as part of a plan to invest a total of £100m raised from sales of land to another successful investment initiative, “This Land” a property development company owned by the council. As a result the Council is increasing its total asset portfolio, improving the supply of homes to Cambridgeshire residents, and creating an on-going revenue stream.

“With rising demand for our services, the council is determined to consider all opportunities to invest in schemes that will help us maintain and improve our service levels and stand on our own feet financially. Our ethos of transformation, commercialisation and sound financial management means we are better able to deal with financial pressures, meaning cutting back on services is a last resort.” said Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, and chair of General Purposes Committee.

“We are being economically prudent, and are taking advantage of current low interest rates which means we can make a return as well as improve the local area. Helping to alleviate a chronic lack of high quality purpose built student accommodation in Cambridge, is something that completely fits with our council objectives.”

Brunswick House offers 231 ensuite rooms and 20 self-contained studio flats in a building directly opposite Anglia Ruskin University’s Computer Science centre.

Cambridge faces a severe shortage of student accommodation with 44% of students currently unable to access university or private sector purpose built student accommodation in the city – amongst Anglia Ruskin students (the nearest University to this building) the figure rises to 77%.

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