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Dressing up for students

08 October 2012

Berkeley First has delivered a 730-bed student accommodation scheme in partnership with University of the Arts, London and Knightsbridge Student Housing, on the site of the BBC's former Wardrobe and Wigs store in North Acton.

Berkeley First, the student accommodation division of the Berkeley Group, first purchased the building in 2009 having secured a 25 year nominations agreement with University of the Arts London. Planning permission to redevelop the site into student accommodation was achieved within six months of purchase and the scheme was forward sold in 2011 to Knightsbridge Student Housing, who will operate the building under The Student Housing Company brand.

Named 'The Costume Store' in reference to its heritage, the site was also used as Television Rehearsal Rooms for classic TV shows such as Dad's Army and Up Pompeii.

The striking 18 storey building features a WIFI enabled student lounge and snug, art gallery, management offices, an on site laundry, landscaped internal courtyards and an external Multi Use Games Area. Berkeley First has included a spacious art workshop within the scheme, complete with cutting tables for fashion and design students and rows of styling booths for hair and make up training.

Matthew Biddle, Managing Director of Berkeley First, said: "We have delivered a design-led, bespoke scheme which is entirely fitting to the ethos and culture of University of the Arts, London and meets the specific requirements of its students. This site has a fascinating heritage and we are pleased that the legacy of art and fashion at The Costume Store will continue through the students who will now live here."

Hamish Clifton, Commercial Director at University of the Arts, said: "We have already received very positive feedback from our students as the academic year gets underway. At a time when there is concern around student fees and the cost of living in London, we feel we have addressed this issue offering such high quality for rents of £160 per week for an en suite room and £200 per week for a studio suite."

The Costume Store has excellent sustainability credentials, incorporating a combined heat and power plant, sustainable urban drainage systems, bat boxes and green and brown roofs, which encourage plant and animal life. The scheme provides a carbon reduction rating of 40%, which is double that required when planning consent was granted. It is car free, with space for over three hundred bicycles and will be managed from onsite offices which are staffed 24 hours a day.

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