Work suspended at controversial 528-bed student accommodation in Penryn

Works to build a huge block of flats for students in Penryn have been stopped after the construction company went into administration. The site, on Kernick Industrial Estate, has been empty for several weeks.

The £40m 528-bed housing scheme, known as Studytel Penryn, was set to accommodate students at the Penryn Campus, which is shared by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter. The project gained planning permission approval in 2018 and, while it was originally hoped it would open in 2020, it was then announced that the first phase would be open in time for the 2021/22 academic year.

But, after weeks without any works being carried out at the site, it has been revealed that building company Caledonian Modular has gone into administration. Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) were appointed as administrators earlier this month.

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A spokesperson for A&M said: “Mark Firmin and Mike Denny of Alvarez & Marsal were appointed as joint administrators of Caledonian Modular Limited on March 8, 2022. The administrators are continuing to trade the business while exploring all possible options for its future, including finding a new buyer.

“Regrettably, 28 employees – around 10% of the total workforce – have been made redundant as part of the administration process. Every effort will be made to support them during this difficult time.”

It is not known at this stage what the consequences will be on the Studytel development. CornwallLive has contacted Studytel for comment but has not yet received a response.

Caledonian Modular had promised a “new, high tech and innovative approach to student accommodation”. The building is set to consist of a mix of single bedrooms, self-contained studio flats and cluster apartments all sharing kitchens and communal spaces.



An artist's impression of what the student housing at Kernick Industrial Estate in Penryn will look like
An artist’s impression of what the student housing at Kernick Industrial Estate in Penryn would look like

The plans include a “unique concept space” called the Winter Garden Library for students and business startups to use in addition to a cafe, business units and meeting spaces. The units promised to bring a conclusion to part of a long-running saga over student housing in the area, which at one point saw two competing schemes proposing over 1,000 rooms, which were deemed too big and in need of serious revision.

Cornwall Council ordered the two schemes backed by Studytel and John Lewis Pension Partnership to join forces. The original plans were reduced in size with a final number of rooms closer to Cornwall Council’s allocation plan which suggested a total of 550 units on the site.

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