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

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

Plans in for £400m Fallowfield campus overhaul

The University of Manchester has submitted proposals for the long-awaited redevelopment of the Owens Park Campus, seeking permission to demolish several buildings and deliver 3,300 new student beds. 

Plans for the scheme, designed by Sheppard Robson, include the demolition of the site’s 1960s tower block, Oak House, and Woolton Hall, which together provide around 2,370 student beds. 

These ageing buildings are to be replaced with 3,300 new student bedspaces. 

Place North West reported earlier this year that the mothballed Owens Park overhaul was being progressed once more, and a fresh outline planning application for the project has now been submitted to Manchester City Council, superseding the previous scheme. 

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. 

The project is expected to complete by 2030, according to planning documents. 

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

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

The background

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However, the replacement of existing outdated stock has stalled since the first phase completed in 2019.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

This first iteration of the Owens Park overhaul proposed the demolition of 2,200 outdated student bedrooms – including the 1960s tower block – and delivery of 3,000 modern bedspaces. 

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.  

The delivery of modern PBSA in Fallowfield aligns with the Manchester City Council’s aim to free up housing in the area for families in a bid to increase council tax receipts, from which students are exempt. 

Your Comments

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Not sure about the sustainability credentials of demolishing/replacing, rather than refurbishing.


Great news – how about adding provision for a supermarket or other amenities and adding a few more levels to increase capacity

By Stuart wood

I’m not sure about the sustainability credentials of cities

By Cal

Great to see the extra beds, but honestly I think there should be an extra 1,000 on what they’re delivering already. Fallowfield used to be a bustling hub full of bars but they’ve slowly been replaced over the years. Hopefully this will revitalise the high street.

@SG, I’m not sure if you’ve ever lived in Fallowfield halls but I promise you, they need demolishing and rebuilding! There is no saving them.


About time. The existing buildings are so tired, and Owens Tower is such an eyesore!

By Anonymous

There is an error in this article – the redevelopment does not align with the council’s aim to free up housing for families in the area in a bid to increase council tax receipts. This application forms a substantial increase in numbers on the Owens Park site. UoM are not providing accommodation for second year students who would have been looking at moving into houses in the area, this accommodation is aimed at first years. A high percentage of these first years will then wish to remain in the surrounding area in their second and possibly third year because they will be familiar with the area. Over the years, as this campus has grown the number of houses lost to student HMO status, or converted into students flats, has also grown – it’s entirely predictable that this will happen. Increasing ‘studentification’ has led to a range of well documented problems, for example, open drug dealing, property and violent crime are all much more prolific and there are insufficient resources to cope- there are many other problems besides. This is a socially irresponsible application.
This application is also counter to various other council policies (E.g. the siting of tall buildings in residential areas, the desire to create ‘well balanced’ neighbourhoods and the development of PBSAs within the Oxford Road corridor i.e. so not in locations like this.
This article needs updating as soon as possible. The deadline for comments on this application is 20th October.

By Anonymous

Why wouldn’t redevelopment be more sustainable? You’re providing an extra 1000 beds in a sustainable location, presumably this will generate carbon savings against additional commuting. The new buildings will likely be more energy efficient and have a longer lifespan than refurbishing the existing.

By Twiggy

@Stuart Wood there is a Sainsburys over the road and planning approved for a new Lidl a 10 minute walk away 🙂


Back in 2010 Fallowfield was the best night out in Manchester, it’s a shame how it’s gone

By Gilly

Anonymous 08:03 – completely agree – I am continually amazed by peoples inability to grasp this, particularly the council. All you need to do is look at the student headcount year on year. Councils wont have any ability to limit headcount and enrolment but it seems so strange that this is never brought up in conversations about PBSA.

By H

Great to see, ignore the Nimbys like the anonymous poster and H, and get it built! It will provide much needed student accommodation, and alleviate the pressure on the surrounding housing stock. I’m not sure how a net increase of 800 bedrooms in purpose built student accommodation (for all years, not just first years) results in reduced housing stock for families within Fallowfield. Maybe they’ve been taking maths lessons from Diane Abbott. Same with the comment on siting of tall buildings in tall areas – maybe actually take a look at the parameters plan instead of spluttering gibberish.

By Adam

As it seems like an important part of the discussion, does PNW have access to any data on what percentage of the students housed in fallowfield halls are 1st years, compared to the percentage housed in HMOs etc.?
Or failing that a national average?
Anecdotally, those I have spoken to have typically moved out of halls into near by HMO’s after 1st or 2nd year, but it might help guide the discussion to hear some credible numbers.
My hypothesis would be that the reason students move out of halls is not to do with there not being enough beds, but related to the mostly well-meaning, but nonetheless antisocial, behaviour of some residents.
There are many factors at play in where students choose to spend their accommodation money but it seems like a questionable jump in logic to say that an increase of halls accomodation will result in decrease in HMO’s etc.

By Designer

Stop right now, thank you very much. The plans to expand this site to house over 5000 students I will be the death of Fallowfield if approved. Pure greed by UoM to try and offload more students here when they’ve been ignoring their social responsibility key goal in the local community.

By A local

So I’m actually in favour of redeveloping the site as I think the tower is an eyesore. But it’s not compliant with their PBSA strategic aims and that’s very obvious. So let me explain to you why this won’t provide much needed student accommodation or alleviate the pressure on the surrounding housing stock and how a net increase of 800 bedrooms actually makes the situation more fraught.

To assist your understanding; first years one day become second years. More first years means more second years the next year. Second years don’t live in halls they live in HMO’s. Students in HMO’s don’t pay council tax. Council gets less tax. It’s quite straight forward really. Which is why the council claims to want to have more students living in PBSA and not in HMOs (despite consistently voting against such schemes). So if you tack on an extra 800 first years (this article makes no reference to it being for all years as you have erroneously assumed) – in a couple years you’ve got to find space for 1600 additional students in general housing stock and then receive ~400 fewer tax receipts. Now keep in mind enrolment at UoM has increased from 40,490 in 2016 to 46,410 in 2021.

Now I don’t really care what they decide to do – I’d be happier seeing the tower torn down regardless – but let’s have a realistic conversation about the pros and cons of what level of development is appropriate. It maybe that the PBSA strategy is actually something we don’t even care about and we’re all fine with lower tax receipts in the name of upping the universities numbers for the knock on effects in the economy but let’s not fall back on name calling and reductionist logic – leave that to the conference up the road.

By H

Fallowfield was the best night out in Manchester?

By You’re boring us now

@You’re boring us now, easily, Ram and Shackle, bar XS, Revs (a good one), Robinski’s, Gin Club, The Bop, The Corner, Font, Trof, Queen of Hearts, Orange Grove, Glass, Cheshire Cat, The Love Heart, Friendship, Spoons and more all in walking distance and most open late, and The Ladybarn a great student pub. Did you prefer the Printworks and Deansgate Locks?

By Gilly

How does increasing student beds on campus for what is typically first year students free up local housing stock? Those first year students inevitably want to live in shared houses in 2nd and 3rd year and will continue to move into local HMOs in Fallowfield, escalating and increasing the current misery for Fallowfield residents.

By Anonymous

The more beds on campus, the higher the demand for house and flat shares in the community. Locals know that, we’ve seen massive loss of family houses as Uni numbers have gone up.

By Local Res

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