A NEW multi-million pound student accomodation complex has finally opened in Colchester - and some of its first occupants have already moved in.

Essex University has officially welcomed the first students to its newest accommodation facility at its Wivenhoe Park campus.

The Pastures, a multi-million-pound complex, has 1,262 bedrooms and opened this week.

The £168million site is split across five new buildings, including a new hub which includes a reception, a post room, an administrative area, and a student services centre, along with staff welfare facilities.

Gazette: Welcome - The Pastures at Essex University has opened its doorsWelcome - The Pastures at Essex University has opened its doors (Image: Andrew Hendry)

Chris Oldham, the university’s deputy registrar responsible for infrastructure and environments, explained the launch of the new accommodation fits in with the institution’s plans to grow its student body.

He said: “We are delighted to be offering this fabulous new student residential accommodation at our Colchester campus.

“The new development provides a range of high-quality accommodation choices, which is key to students enjoying a positive living and learning experience on our campus.

“Growing our accommodation on campus enables us to align this to our growth in student numbers and satisfy the needs of our students.

“We are proud of our excellent relationship with our partners in delivering this new accommodation.”

The project was completed by construction company Bouygues UK and Uliving – the student accommodation arm of its sister company Linkcity.

Gazette: Inside - a kitchen in the new accommodationInside - a kitchen in the new accommodation (Image: Andrew Hendry)

Uliving chief executive Oliver Campbell praised the work of everyone involved in the project.

He said: “In time for the new academic year, we are proud to have successfully delivered this new student accommodation project for the University of Essex.

“Despite the post-pandemic challenges to supply chains that we faced, we maintained the fast pace of progress on the project, delivering 1,262 high-quality student bedrooms in two years.

“The completed project showcases our ability to design, build, finance, and operate student accommodation, and couldn’t have been achieved without the close collaboration among all partners.”

His company also worked on two earlier accommodation projects at the university in 2013 and 2018.

The Pastures is a 15-minute walk from the heart of the Wivenhoe Park campus.

Its opening follows the launch of a private 282-bed student accommodation site in Hawkins Road last month.

Bosses of the Enso site have applied for permission to build a further four bedrooms.