Lend Lease has announced it has signed a major deal with Manor Property Group for a host of student accommodation across England and Scotland.

The company will be tasked with designing and constructing up to 40,000 housing units for undergraduates and postgraduates across 70 different locations in these two nations. Officials stated that the first phase of work will begin later in the year when Lend Lease will create 3,500 units in a number of key university cities.

The five projects have a combined contract value of £240 million and will take place in cities such as Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Hull which will allow the institutes to expand their workings.

All of these cities are renowned for their universities and are home to more than one institute, boasting a huge student population during term time and providing a significant stimulus for the local economy. Officials have earmarked a completion date of 2015 for these developments to be finished and it is hoped that new accommodation will help the universities attract more would-be undergraduates and postgraduates to the cities.

The work also represents the second time that Lend Lease has teamed up with the University of Sheffield to create student accommodation after it previously constructed a 4,000-bed structure through a combination of new build and refurbishment.

Steve McCann, Lend Lease Group chief executive officer and managing director, said: "We are very pleased to have secured this agreement with Manor Property Group, which leverages the core capability of Lend Lease's project management and construction business in the UK student accommodation sector, and adds to our construction work."

Universities across England and Wales have been increasingly improving their strategy to attract new students after figures from admissions board Ucas revealed that there had been a fall in application numbers. The drop had been blamed on the government's decision to raise the amount institutes could charge for tuition fees to £9,000 a year which sparked mass protests in major cities across the countries.

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