Fallowfield campus, UoM, p planning docs

The scheme as viewed from Wilmslow Road. Credit: via planning documents

Mothballed Fallowfield campus transformation to take flight 

The University of Manchester wants to demolish various buildings at the Wilmslow Road site, including a 1960s tower block, and deliver 3,300 student beds under plans set to secure planning consent next week. 

Manchester City Council has recommended the long-awaited redevelopment of the Fallowfield site be approved. 

Designed by, Sheppard Robson, the scheme would see the tower block, Oak House, Owens Park, and Woolton Hall demolished. Together, those buildings provide around 2,370 student beds.

These ageing buildings are to be replaced with 3,300 new student bedspaces – an increase of 300 units compared to a 2015 iteration of the scheme that did not materialise. 

The University of Manchester is also seeking to procure a partner to design, build, finance, and operate the campus, a contract that is worth up to £400m. 

Turley is the planning consultant and the project managers are Rider Levett Bucknall and Midollo. Buro Happold is advising on the environmental impact assessment.     

Fallowfield Campus Redevelopment, University of Manchester, p.University of Manchester,

UoM is seeking a partner for the £400m project. Credit: via University of Manchester

To learn more about the proposals, search for application reference number 138126/OO/2023 on Manchester City Council’s planning portal. 

The redevelopment of the student accommodation complex has been in the works for some time.   

So far, around 1,100 new student beds have been delivered at Unsworth halls on the corner of Gunnery Lane and Chancellors Way – a project finished off by Vinci after former contractor Carillion went bust.   

However, the replacement of existing outdated stock has stalled since the first phase completed in 2019.   

Consent for the BDP-designed redevelopment of the site was granted in 2015.   

At this time, the University of Manchester was working with Abu Dhabi investor Mubadala Development Company. However, in 2016, the parties went their separate ways, prompting a rethink over how the project would proceed.   

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Brilliant to see, but why not make the accommodation blocks three times the size and provide 10,000 beds! Fallowfield used to be such an amazing, vibrant student area but has gone massively down hill. Imagine how much better it would be with that many extra students. As long as the Magic Bus’s (if they still exist) run every few minutes to the University, the demand can be catered for. Especially with the new Lidl being built.


Outline application, but very clearly predicated on all 3,300 units being en-suite and therefore more expensive, when students without access to the Bank of Mum & Dad are already finding accommodation costs crippling.
Difficulty of putting in ensuites is also given as major justification for bulldozing everything and not retrofitting.
Would be good to see UoM offering cheap-and-cheerful at least as an option, and doing something different to private developers rather than just trying to match it for financial returns. Provision could always be made for fitting more bathrooms later if overall demand dictates.
Also, telling residents of a 3,300 development – even students – that it’s a car-free development doesn’t make it one. It just means you can squeeze more units onto the site, and any parking impact onto the neighbours.

By Rotringer

Given the relentless cries for more student beds and the need for life to be breathed back into the area, I’m surprised we’re not going to insist on more density and a significant increase in the number of beds.

By Tom

2005-2012 Fallowfield had the best nightlife in Manchester, what’s happened? I’ve never seen a place decline so fast, mind you Didsbury village and Withington have gone the same way.

By Scott

Re MC… totally agree. They could be solving tomorrows accommodation challenges today.

By Peter Chapman

Re Rotringer
I see where you are coming from but the world has moved on since we were at university. Many students want better than basic accommodation now.
I also wonder if the developers have the conference trade in mind.
The car parking is an issue. I could accept it there was a transport system like London and the south east but that will never happen in Greater Manchester unfortunately.

By Peter Chapman

I agree with the car-free approach, its on Oxford Rd/Wilmslow Rd with the most frequent bus service connecting the accommodation directly to the campus, local amenities and City centre, no reason for students to own cars and the overwhelming do not.

By Anonymous

I’m not convinced that an en suite for every bedroom is “better” but it is very much the accepted standard now for student accommodation.

As for parking – already in 2007 none of my fellow students bothered owning a car – and that was in hilly Sheffield with unreliable buses. Fallowfield is an easy bike ride into town with buses every few minutes. Allow a few drop-off and loading spaces per block, and one secure ground-floor bike space per room, job done.

By W

En-suite accepted standard for PBSA, or just now the only thing on offer (because you can charge more)?

The shared student houses most 2nd and 3rd years move on to after halls certainly aren’t all en-suite.

Those landlords seem to find squashing in more bedrooms the most profitable…

By Anonymous

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