By WILLIAM TELFORD Business Editor @WTelfordHerald    Pictures courtesy of the Plymouth Herald:

PLYMOUTH is set for a multi-million-pound bonanza from foreign students, with more flats being built and an influx of youngsters from places such as Eastern Europe, a leading businessman predicts.

Henry Hutchins, director of North Hill-based Clever Students Lets, said recently-announced plans to build three large blocks of student accommodation – at The Crescent, Regent Street and Armada Way – are likely to be just the start of a sustained boom.

He said investors are circulating, with more apartment blocks set to be announced as the city reaps the benefits of demand for high-quality education from China and energy-rich Eastern Europe.

Mr Hutchins, whose firm lets student properties, also works with investors looking for opportunities in Plymouth, and said many are eyeing the city.

His business has seen huge growth from the increase in foreign student spend already, and is now taking on an employee just to target the market in the Far East.

And he said well-heeled students from the emerging economies will bring enormous spending power.

“There’s some serious money coming up,” he said.

He added: “There is a huge amount of investment waiting to come into the city. Most of this will kick in about 2017.

“We are looking at a minimum of about 2,000 rooms being built, which will dramatically alter the face of Plymouth.”

He said new builds in the city centre would regenerate the area, and highlighted re-developments too, such as a scheme to put 60, two-bed flats in existing buildings at St Andrew’s Cross.

He is also in talks with investors from Russia, USA, Monaco and Jersey.

“That’s just during the course of this month,” he said. “They are looking at new builds or buying existing buildings.”

Mr Hutchins said the student market was very competitive, with universities vying with each other.

“They earn more from foreign students,” he said.

He said Plymouth was highly attractive to overseas learners because of “the quality of education” offered by the university and other higher and further education providers, and the high standard of accommodation available.

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