Monday, November 19, 2012

Milking time

It begins.

Two leaflets through my door touting new accommodation at "Portland Green", the favoured name for the new student housing blocks on Portland Road, built by well known warehouse and storage facility builders, Metnor. It's essential to have the right name, a name that appeals to estate agents and their hangers on. Portland Road Halls of Residence might not do.

Rents are eye watering:

"Rooms from £97/week" with small print underneath (+£18 all inclusive weekly service charge).

Rooms £115/week then. From. If you are one of the lucky ones who get in early. Then there is the £200 deposit of which, sadly, £50 is non refundable.

The organisation responsible for managing this nice little earner goes by the name of 'DIGS', redolent of a long since vanished age of cheap rough and ready flats and rooms where generations of students 'dossed down' - literally on mattresses next to the floorboards in most cases.

Now, – and there is a lovely fresh faced chap on another plug, er, leaflet, who looks too young to be able to get into debt legally, complete with headphones and fashionable 'gear' in view – the room's will have WiFi and 'superfast' broadband, cable television and en suite showers plus "superb transport links" that are not apparent at time of writing. Fortunately for the rather slightly built young man on Leaflet No. 2 (entitled "This is my place" rather than "these 'ere are me digs, like") there are also 3/4 sized beds. Students, eh?


To the ambitious academics who began to think they might be rather good at playing business, caution! There is a cloud on the horizon and it presages much that will cause consternation in the boardroom as we now call the University chancellors office.

This from the B.B.C. brings potentially fatal news for those Strategic Earnings Plans.

Soon, very much sooner than it took Metnor to knock up these DIGS, those wily Orientals will add two and two together, see the gap in the market and put Newcastle University p.l.c. and, or, Northumbria Learning Experiences Inc. out of business.

What then will become of Portland Green? Plan B ...

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