MMU student village approved

Manchester Metropolitan University's emerging £139m Birley Fields development will contain 1,200 student bedrooms in blocks of townhouses after the local authority granted planning consent.

Designed by architects GWP, the student village will be built by GB Building Solutions.

The majority of the accommodation will be arranged in four-storey townhouses around the edges of the development.

MMU Birley Fields student villageWork is due to start on site in March and is targeted for completion in August 2014.

MMU is aiming for a BREEAM rating of 'outstanding', using a district heating system provided by a new energy centre installed as part of the wider campus development. All bedrooms will have a 'grey water' system and GB Building Solutions plans to recycle 98% of waste generated during construction.

GB Building Solutions were appointed by MMU in September 2012 to deliver the student accommodation. They will work alongside Sir Robert McAlpine, the main contractor for the academic building, multi-storey car park and energy centre.

Birley Fields represents the final stage of a £350m investment in new campus facilities for MMU. It is the largest construction project in the university's 10-year plan to consolidate from seven campus locations to two, Manchester and Cheshire by 2014.

Birley Fields will be the new home for the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care. It will provide a learning and teaching environment for more than 6,000 students and 500 academics, researchers and technical staff. There will be shared community facilities including a sports hall, drama and music studios.

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The presence of only a single retail unit on Stretford Road represents a very poor outcome for Hulme. For all the flannel about involving the community, all this amounted to in the end was preserving a few trees. What Hulme sorely needs is better social infrastructure and space for local businesses to develop. Here, the university had an opportunity to really give the community and the economic regeneration of Hulme a boost by providing commercial units right along Stretford Road. This would have improved opportunities for interaction between the student and resident population, provided space for new businesses and potentially interesting opportunities for community /social interest enterprises to grow, all highly relevant to the type of courses on offer at the new education building. Instead, the consultation was token and the result is a timid and wasteful scheme. Moreover – and quite shockingly – the scheme presents a blank gable wall to the corner of Stretford Road and Royce Road. A dreadful bit of design at this important junction and entry point into the scheme. Poor design and a missed opportunity overall. Shame. Having said all that, this is the same university that severed Stretford Road in the first place – and refuses to countenance its reinstatement. Should we be surprised?

By Unimpressed

GB Building Solutions goes into administration, March 2015. Nick Hood, business risk analyst at Company Watch said on 11th March 2015, that GB Buidling Solutions had "been in or very close to our warning area for the past five years." [since 2010] Professor John Brooks, vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University said [in September 2012]: “We are delighted to have appointed GB Group to build our accommodation scheme at Birley Fields." Why exactly, when GB Building Solutions were already known to have been in trouble for 2 years, was the Vice President of MMU delighted to appoint them at all?

By UnhappyHulmeResident