Property Week Winner 2020 Developer of the Year

The Union, Leamington Spa

Bringing Leamington’s canal side to life

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Leamington Spa’s strong and improving transport connections with Warwick University make the town increasingly popular among students as a place to live during term time. Extensive research by Alumno revealed that the need for student housing within Leamington Spa is growing year by year, with the town currently accommodating around 5,000 Warwick University students. To address this challenge, Alumno put forward a successful proposal for a project that delivered not only high-quality purpose-built housing for 187 students, but also vastly improved an unmaintained area of the town’s historic Grand Union Canal.

Known as The Union, the development was built on the site of a former BT storage facility and has revitalised the unique canalside location. It comprises two four-storey buildings, which offer a combination of studios and cluster units with shared living rooms and kitchens.

The ground floor features communal areas offering attractive views onto the canal, along with a management office and security facilities for the safety of residents. Run by a leading student housing management provider, the Union has full-time staff presence enabling local residents to always have a point of contact.

“The site is located in south Leamington in the heart of the old town. It’s ideally suited for student accommodation due to being in a mixed-use setting close to local amenities and good transport links to Warwick University,” explains Alumno managing director David Campbell. “This includes the anticipated opening of Kenilworth station, which will provide a further rail link close to the University.

“The Union’s canal frontage gives us the opportunity to bring the area to life by positioning entrances so they open onto the canal and landscaping up the towpath to provide better access for pedestrians and canal users.”

The development, which opened in September 2017, also offers public amenity space for the benefit of the wider community, forming a more welcoming canalside experience, encouraging people to spend more time there. The garden is open to the public and features artwork inspired by Sir Terry Frost. It will also bring significant economic benefits to the town and discourage students from choosing existing properties in residential areas.

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