Freshers’ September rush brings cash windfall to Plymouth

By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor, The Herald


A Plymouth lettings firm has dealt with 3,000 students in just three weeks – and says they are bringing a cash bonanza to the city.

North Hill-based Clever Student Lets has been inundated with “freshers” looking for accommodationduring September.

And the firm, which reported turnover at about £10million in 2015, said it has spent close to £1million in the city in the past year, dealing with 2,000 properties and rooms.


IN CHARGE: CSL chief executive Henry Hutchins
It comes just months after the firm participated in research which revealed Plymouth’s student population injects a whopping £300million into the city economy every year.

“We spent more than £750,000 this year employing local cleaners, painters and decorators, carpenters, gardeners, locksmiths, and electricians in more than 2,000 properties and rooms,” said CSL chief executive Henry Hutchins.

“From September 1 to 17 is our busiest period, and demand for our student accommodation services is the most busy and intensive.

“Our teams at CSL are working flat out to meet our customers’ needs.”

OPENING DAY: CSL’s Henry Hutchins with the then Lord Mayor John Mahony at the opening of the new CSL base

CSL has become a huge player in the city’s student lettings market and is looking at expanding into five other UK cities.

The business was named the UK’s best student lettings agency provider at the Sunday Times Letting Agency Awards in central London this year.

HELP POINT: Staff at CSL assist students to find accommodation

It has launched a new website, written in Chinese to hit that lucrative market, and early in 2016 expanded into new offices at Sherwell Church, on the Plymouth University campus.

Mr Hutchins said the firm is providing accommodation for a growing number of students from China and the Middle East.

WINNER: CSL’s Henry Hutchins with one of the awards the firm has won

CSL also looks after some of the city’s most prominent low-rise developments, such as the Tamar House development at St Andrew’s Cross.

“This is bringing new life and regeneration to the city centre,” said Mr Hutchins.

In January 2016 CSL worked with Plymouth University and Santander bank on A Report Looking into Student Spending and Analysing the Economic Impact it has on Plymouth.

The independent study found 31,654 students living in rented city accommodation, or at home, spent £33,951,103 every week during their nine-month academic year, in 2013/14.

 NEW LOOK: Inside CSL’s Sherwell base

That equated to a total of £305,559,934 that year.

The study also revealed parents visiting their offspring also spend a significant amount in the city too – a not inconsiderable £3,303,648 each year.

And foreign students bring a £34million windfall to the city annually too.

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