MCC refused the scheme last September. Credit: via planning documents

Date set for Watkin Jones’ Manchester student appeal 

Manchester City Council rejected Watkin Jones’ plan to redevelop the former USDAW trade union site into student accommodation last September. 

The scheme, designed by Tim Groom Architects, includes demolishing the majority of the buildings on the site and constructing a pair of residential blocks, with one rising to 13 storeys. 

Oakley Villa, the oldest building on the site and part of the trade union’s complex, would be retained and extended to house the development’s communal facilities. 

The proposal was refused by the city council due to the already high number of students in the area. 

The fact that Watkin Jones did not demonstrate it had a formal agreement in place with a university also worked against the developer. 

In addition, the city council said the development would not give rise to a positive regeneration impact or address the requirement for housing in the area. 

Manchester City Council has voiced its desire to see HMOs in Fallowfield and other student areas freed up for families to boost council tax receipts by up to £17m.  

Students are exempt from paying council tax, meaning that the council is losing out on contributions as a result of students choosing to live in private rented accommodation.  

This strategy did not help Watkin Jones though, as the council is keen to see student housing in the city centre, rather than the suburbs.   

Fusion, Deansgate, P.planning Documents

MCC also rejected Fusion’s city centre student scheme. Credit: via planning documents.

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