MMU Birley Residences Phase 2
Birley Residences phase two, as viewed from the Bonsall Road crossing over Princess Road

MMU moves forward with final Birley Fields plot

Manchester Metropolitan University has lodged an application for a 491-bed student accommodation scheme at Birley Fields.

The proposal, for the site known as Birley Plot E – the final plot in the Birley Fields masterplan area –  is billed as Birley Residences phase two, following MMU’s delivery of a previous student accommodation scheme in the area.

The site, close to the Hulme Arch on Stretford Road, is cleared and has an existing outline consent for 475 bed spaces dating back to 2011. It is surrounded by roads on three sides and by an access road for existing student living space on its fourth side. The site is closer to the MMU Oxford Road campus than phase one, sitting inside the Princess Road boundary.

GWP Architecture’s design is for a building arranged in a sequence of connected parts wrapping around the site’s perimeter. The proposed design shows the Birchall Way elevation, overlooking Princess Road, to be the tallest part, at 16 storeys.

The Stretford Road elevation will be six storeys, seeking to maintain the existing streetscape, and the part of the building on the side of the Stonelow Close access road will be 11 storeys. The buildings feature shared social spaces within a central core accessed from the southern, Bonsall Road side. Its two towers will be parallel to the existing Hornchurch Court block, to the east along Bonsall Road.

With 967 bed spaces already delivered in the masterplan area, the total number of spaces allowed on this plot was initially only set to be a maximum of 233 bed spaces. However, the university’s estates plan has been revised and pre-application discussions with the council have led to an agreement that around 500 spaces is an acceptable volume.

The professional team includes Deloitte Real Estate as planner, Curtins as structural engineer, CPW on M&E and environmental services and Altor Fire as fire engineer. GWPA is also responsible for the scheme’s landscape architecture.

A £27.5m tender was issued by MMU in summer 2017 for the delivery of the Plot E building, at which point it was intended to comprise around 475 units. The enlarged scheme went before a Places Matter design review panel last autumn then underwent public consultation between March and July this year.

The £139m Birley Fields campus was opened in 2014, following the decision by MMU to streamline its estate from seven sites to two.

The land was donated by Manchester City Council, with the 15-acre campus designed to accommodate 6,000 students and 500 staff, with 1,200 student accommodation spaces. The main building is the 250,000 sq ft Faculty of Education & Health, Psychology & Social Care, designed by Sheppard Robson.

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Yet more student flats…its a real scandal that some of this land has not been used to supply the people of Manchester with housing. It seems that local people are yet again being overlooked in favour of the student pound.

By Coolmanc

It is MMU’s development. Why do they need to supply housing..?

By Anon

I agree with Coolmanc.There are far too many of these student flats in prime locations.

By Elephant

Surely purpose-built student accommodation, located close to university facilities, will actually help to free up existing terraced housing?

By Anonymous

Great news! More student homes closer to the universities will be attractive for prospective new students, encouraging them to chose Manchester/MMU. This should also help to reduce the attractiveness of student HMOs, freeing up more residential properties in Withington, Fallowfield and Rusholme for families.

By Anonymous

I agree with the comments here regarding freeing up existing housing stock for family homes – much better for students to be in town near the Uni

By Anonymous

It’s better building purpose built student housing around central areas, this is really where students should be. They’ve done in in Liverpool and Leeds.

By York Street

I disagree with the comments about freeing up housing stock. When I went to university in 2012 most people couldn’t wait to leave student accommodation.

High rent, small rooms, tiny windows, single beds, thin walls, timed electric heaters, and no balcony’s. I could go on.

By Aaron

Calm down, it’s not like Manchester is short of space. There are acres of brownfield site within the city centre ring road alone.

By Thumbs Up

The point I was trying to make is that in many parts of Manchester land is being used to build student accommodation rather than housing for Manchester people. This is despite the fact that many people now believe there is an oversupply of such accommodation. The point made about HMO’s being freed up for families is fair enough, but that doesn’t really help young people and first time buyers.

I have young relatives who live in Hulme (with their parents) and would like to stay in the area – however despite that fact that they are all working none can afford to buy or even rent in the area. Meanwhile the area is flooded with students, and rents/prices become unaffordable for locals. I have nothing against students, would just like to see a better, fairer balance of housing resources.

By coolmanc

I don’t understand the correlation between a new student housing development and rents becoming un-affordable to residents. Students are therefore living in this accommodation rather than standard housing in the area freeing up the units for private rent or to buy. An over supply of such developments would therefore drive prices down further (basic supply and demand) encouraging more students to live in these developments rather than housing stock.

A quick look on Rightmove and a 2 bed houses and apartments are to rent for <£700 per month, that's pretty affordable given the proximity to the city centre.

By Anonymous

Sexy boxes

By DeludedCity

Looks like all of the student flats being built around Liverpool city centre and the baltic.

By Tom

I love how the student vs locals debate is withdrawing attention from this monstrosity

By A

An absolute disgrace. Our estate is completely taken over, and this proposal will completely smother the area. This is not in the interest of our estate, and MMU are bulldozing us and taking advantage of the kindness of our dopey council giving them the land.? Why have I been campaigning for over 40 years when we are going backwards once again to what we suffered in the 70s and80s. In Hulme.
Think it’s time that I baled out before MMU come for my house. My estate is now a corridor, which once was a thriving community

By Sally casey

How much do you pay to live there Sally?

By Paul Watt

…I think that MMU should set aside some of the units as subsided housing for poorly paid MMU employees and their families, because as they get priced out of the local housing market they will get most value from arrangements.

By Arfa Minute