Ormskirk student blocks overcome opposition at committee
Three four and five-storey student accommodation blocks in the centre of Ormskirk have been given the go-ahead by West Lancashire Council, despite criticism from local groups the scheme would be “overbearing”.
Developer J Waring & Sons was given consent by the council’s planning committee on 10 September, and is now primed to start on the project, which includes 101 student flats, split between 48 cluster-style bedrooms and 53 studio flats.
The studios are split across two blocks, while the cluster flats are in a four-storey building. Another block, which also reaches four storeys, will have a 1,000 sq ft commercial unit on the ground floor. All the buildings are proposed to be brick-clad, and will be arranged around a central courtyard.
The developer’s planner, Emery, argued there is currently “insufficient” numbers of student beds for Edge Hill University, with the proposed development designed to provide spaces for students in the town centre, particularly for second and third-year students. Edge Hill currently has just shy of 2,500 be d spaces on its campus.
The site, which is currently vacant, sits to the rear of Church Street and has had a lengthy planning history stretching back over a decade. A mixed-use commercial development including 17 apartments was approved in 2008, and although an extension of time was granted in 2013, the scheme has not yet been progressed.
The site is allocated for development under West Lancashire’s Local Plan. Barclay + Phillips is the architect.
The project was approved by West Lancs’ planning committee, in line with officer recommendation, although there had been some objections from local groups, including the New Ormskirk Residents Group, which had argued the proposals were “overbearing” and would “do nothing to attract year-round visitors”.
However, the design of the scheme was praised by West Lancs’ planning officer, who said: “In my view, the broken mass of the blocks helps to create a more varied townscape, something that is difficult to achieve when providing modern student modular style accommodation, and I consider has been successfully created in the proposed development.
“The proposed spaces between the buildings provide the opportunity to create positive landscaped spaces which enliven the town centre during the day and in the evening.”