Opal Goes Bust
Company behind the new Notts campus goes bust
After sinking £48 million into the complex two miles north of University Campus, Opal has gone into administration.
The Opal Campus was designed to be an alternative to Lenton, following the Council pushing for fewer students to be concentrated there.
The halls boasted a wide range of facilities, such as a 24 hour gym, pool tables and Sky TV included for £112.80 a week. The building has been open for a mere one and a half years.
Opal Group, the company behind the complex, has called in KPMG as administrators on a number of its sites around the country.
The halls have not yet reached full capacity and are still advertising spaces for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The new site was billed as ‘ideal accommodation for students in Nottingham’. But some have found the set-up jumbled.
Although set-out like a hall for freshers – with a reception, shared communal area and laundrette – students living there range from PhD students to freshers, from both Trent and UoN.
A university spokesman said: “We want to reassure students that the administrators are continuing to operate this location (Opal Nottingham Ltd) as normal and students will continue to pay their rent as usual.
“Any rents that have been paid in advance by students will be honoured in full. The administrators are working with the staff to ensure all services and facilities continue without disruption.”
Tom O’Shaughnessey, who lived in Opal during his first year, bemoaned that Opal was not worth the expensive prices and the below par facilities:
“The studio flats don’t have a hob, they have a combination microwave instead which is a nightmare to use. It’s easy to trip out your fuse box and then you have to get one one of the office people to sort it out. And they were never too helpful.”
What function does Opal want to serve? If Opal wants to attract students away from Lenton, why isn’t set up like a student village, rather than another off campus hall? Students wanting to relive the halls experience would surely select either a Campus hall or Raleigh Park.
Raleigh charges £90 a week compared to Opal’s £112.80; it’s also a 15 minute walk to campus compared to Opal’s 30. I’m struggling to see the attraction of Opal… A review on The Student Room, said ‘Opal should be considered if you’re a PhD student, looking for a more peaceful atmosphere.’ Do they need 1000 rooms to fulfil this function?
The idea behind Opal was to attract some of the students out of Lenton, after the council created what many saw as an anti-student atmosphere. The council now charge £70 pound a year parking permit, which didn’t go down well with the Lenton residents.
Landlords now have to obtain planning permission from the council to convert any dwelling into a student house for more than three people. Before this was only necessary for a house that would accommodate more than 7 people.