Trafford looks to Westpoint deal for student living

Trafford Council’s executive will next week be asked to approve an option deal at the Westpoint building as the local authority looks to put in place student accommodation for UA92.

In August, the Trafford Bruntwood joint venture secured planning permission for a change of use at the Kellogg’s campus on Talbot Road for educational use, setting in motion the development process as the sports and business-led facility seeks to open in September 2019.

The expected student numbers are 650 for the first academic year, rising to 1.250 in 2020. Of that 650, residential space will be required for around half, Trafford estimates.

Trafford had originally intended to develop student accommodation primarily in the centre of Stretford, but following consultation with residents, has decided to reduce this element and seek alternative locations. A joint venture had previously been set up with Equity Solutions, Trafford’s partner on the George H Carnell leisure centre redevelopment in Urmston, however the council has recently said this agreement is no longer in place. The council is yet to provide further details of when the JV with equity ended or whether a replacement will be appointed.

Although the bulk of the report that will go before the executive is classified as exempt information, it does reveal that three main opportunities are presented for the executive: Warwick House, Westpoint and Charlton House.

At Warwick House, a planning application was lodged for 201 UA92-linked apartments this summer, but the report to Trafford’s executive records that owner Beech Holdings has subsequently advised that it no longer wishes to sell. Beech submitted its own plans, for 80 apartments, in March.

The council is also looking to acquire the empty Charlton House site, and said that it is prepared to use Compulsory Purchase powers to do so, given the building’s vacant state. However, material relating to this was withdrawn from the executive report.

Westpoint, the towering landmark at Trafford Bar, has been subject of a redevelopment from its former office use, and when complete will comprise 318 apartments, with 327 bed spaces. Again, Beech is the owner, having acquired the building from Marcol in late 2016.

Trafford’s report said that terms for an options agreement to lease some or all of the whole building are being negotiated, subject to formal approval.

The report to the executive specifies that although the council considers it appropriate to kickstart the college’s student accommodation provision in the short term while the facility establishes itself, it does not intend to be involved for any longer than three years.

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Hmmmm Equity Solutions, the very same company that is owned by Michael Dwan, as featured on last nights Panorama documentary regarding the Bright Tribe academy trust scandal …

… what could possibly go wrong?

By John Smith

UPDATE: Comment from Trafford Council stating it is no longer partnering with Equity Solutions. The council have been asked for further details.

By Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Trafford council totally messed this ua92 thing up… where’s the benefits? All at the risk of
The tax payer

By Deh Trafford