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August 15, 2015

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Paul Flynn for Jonny Roberts

The student housing proposal is a worry. The closure of Caerleon campus doesn't mean courses reverting to the city centre campus it means courses going to Cardiff and Treforest (a sure sign that the 'merger' of Newport and Glamorgan was more a takeover by the latter). It's fairly obvious to any cynical observer that soon the arts courses in Newport will be shifted to the expanding arts USW campus in Cardiff leaving Newport's City Campus as a Business School nothing more. The Business School's intake is vastly different from the Art, Media and Design School. Far more part and mature students who normally live locally and far more international students. Therefore by reducing the number of courses taught in Newport they'll be less demand for student housing, by leaving the nature of those courses as solely Business the demand for student housing will only come from the international students and this is only if international student numbers can be significantly increased. I would argue the latter point is a tall order when one of the selling points for Newport was Caerleon campus' serenity but also a tough ask when Theresa May's visa reforms are making it harder for students to come here and Indian students in particular are now opting for the US instead of the UK.

Empty student housing (which is forgivable for its tight spaces and shared kitchens) will then be converted into poor quality cramped housing or knocked down. Neither is a particularly good future and both are preventable by the council having the foresight to look at what is really going on at USW and what that means for Newport's student population.

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