The University is currently exploring the viability of establishing student accommodation facilities on the Nedlands site. This initiative aligns with the UWA 2020 Masterplan, which emphasises a comprehensive approach to future land use planning across the University’s landholdings, including the Crawley/QEIIMC precinct.


Opportunities to invest in the University’s future sustainability by optimising the use of its landholdings that are surplus to the main Crawley campus have been a key focus. The Nedlands site has been identified as an asset surplus to the University’s core academic functions that could release value for future the University.

Since 2022, the University has undertaken an extensive planning and community engagement process to determine the future uses of its assets, including the Nedlands site. While investigations are still ongoing, this process has identified the Nedlands site as the most appropriate location for future student accommodation.

The demand for additional student housing in Western Australia has grown significantly due to increasing demand and expected growth in student numbers. In response, the University has embarked on a dedicated planning process to help inform the future development student accommodation on a portion of the Nedlands site.


Student Accommodation Engagement

Since 2021, the University has undertaken an extensive planning and community engagement process to determine the future uses of its assets, including the Nedlands site which is bordered by Stirling Highway, Hampden Road, Clifton Street and Gordon Street, Nedlands.

The provision of Student Accommodation was one of the main big three ideas that resulted from the Nedlands masterplan engagement. Separate engagement specifically for the student accommodation was subsequently completed in late 2023 with the community, University staff and students.  The attached Executive Summary reflects the findings of those engagements.

The findings of the engagements will be used to inform the final plans for the student accommodation.


Student Accommodation Planning Process

Why is UWA seeking to develop new student accommodation?

The provision of suitable accommodation is essential for students wishing to access university courses. Demand for student accommodation has significantly increased since the peak COVID years, with current and predicted high demand.

There is an overall lack of any accommodation for students, whether purpose-built student accommodation or properties in the local rental market, where rental vacancies are at historic lows. This lack of housing availability impacts opportunities for people to access tertiary education and impacts the surrounding residential community.

Why has the Nedlands site been identified for a new student accommodation development?

The planning and engagement process, undertaken since 2022 to inform the future use of the site identified a range of potential future uses, including student accommodation. Following investigations in 2023 across UWA’s property portfolio, the Nedlands site was identified as the most appropriate for several reasons:

  • It is already reserved for University Purposes which allows for student accommodation
  • The site has a specific land area where accommodation could be located that won’t interrupt current site operations for educational purposes (i.e. it will not require the demolition or replacement of existing buildings)
  • The site allows for expedited construction to cater for the University’s accommodation needs by 2027, at a viable construction cost
  • The site is within close proximity to the Crawley campus and other student accommodation
  • It is located on a high frequency bus route.

What are the potential benefits of providing student accommodation on the Nedlands site?

Development of student accommodation provides a range of benefits including:

  • Enabling students to access housing for their tertiary education
  • Releases demand on the local rental market, which currently has an historically low vacancy rate, and precludes many people from access to affordable housing
  • More residents living close to the Hampden Road commercial strip will support local shops and services.

What is currently permitted in relation to student accommodation on the site?

Currently, there isn’t any student accommodation on the site. However, the development of student accommodation is a permitted use under the current University Purposes reservation, without requiring any changes to site zoning.

There is currently no development standard applicable to the site, including building height (i.e. any height is approvable), setbacks, parking and open space.

However, through the planning process the University will be seeking to ensure that any future accommodation aligns with the vision of the future planned uses of the site and integrates with the broader site and precinct context.

What is the planning process that needs to be undertaken to develop new student accommodation?

As the reservation of the site already permits student accommodation, this process will require the submission of a Development Application to the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) via the City of Perth.

No engagement is required before submitting a Development Application, however, in keeping with UWA’s commitment to engaging with students, staff, local residents and community members to inform future planning on the site, consultation will help inform the design of the proposed student accommodation before submitting a Development Application.

The City of Perth and WAPC may choose to advertise the Development Application for community feedback. The officers will use this feedback to help inform the development of a “Responsible Authority Report” which will be provided to the Joint Design Advisory Panel (JDAP) for its deliberations. The JDAP will make the final decision in relation to the Development Application.

What is the proposed engagement process?

Engagement will occur with students via a reference group to investigate student needs and preferences and guide design of the facilities and amenities from a user perspective. This is proposed to occur over October and November 2023.

UWA staff, local residents and community members will be invited to participate in focus group workshops in late October and early November 2023, where some initial draft concepts will be presented for feedback.

This feedback will be used to help inform more consolidated designs, which will then be submitted in a future Development Application.

How many units of accommodation are proposed?

It is proposed that between 600-700 student accommodation beds will be provided in the new accommodation.

What are some of the other design features being considered?

No decision has been made in relation to the provision of facilities and amenities, however key considerations will need to include:

  • Room design, including size, provision of ensuites, storage, study areas and other amenities
  • Social engagement and recreation areas (inside and outside)
  • Meal preparation and access
  • Fitness and exercise facilities
  • Shared educational and study spaces
  • Accommodating cars; bicycles; scooters and sustainable transport options
  • Pedestrian; cycling and vehicular access.

Who will operate the student accommodation – will it run like the other student accommodation colleges at UWA?

The University intends to operate the student accommodation, however this will be confirmed through a business case in the latter part of 2023. Unlike existing colleges to the east of the site, the accommodation is intended to be self-catered.

What access will student residents and others have to the facility?

Student residents will have access to University’s facilities and may also have access to some facilities at University Hall. Consideration will be given to providing some public amenities, including a potential café and commercial facilities at the ground floor.

The design development will further explore the balance of community access to facilities and private amenity space for residents.