Upper Brook Street , PAG, p.PAG

The redevelopment of Upper Brook Street would be the next phase of growth for the Oxford Road Corridor. Credit: via Property Alliance Group

Student housing dominates Manchester’s first planning meeting of 2024

All eyes will be on the city council’s planning committee meeting next Thursday when schemes that would provide homes for around 5,500 students are up for approval. 

The redevelopment of the University of Manchester’s Fallowfield campus would provide 3,300 of those beds, while the Upper Brook Street masterplan – being led by a quartet of developers – would see another 2,000 delivered, as well as 700,000 sq ft of life sciences workspace. 

Both of those schemes went before Manchester City Council’s planning committee in December but the developers were left frustrated following spirited opposition from local councillors opposed to the projects. 

Both developments were deferred pending site visits and will return to committee with recommendations for approval next week. 

Meanwhile, Curlew Investments’ controversial plans to redevelop the former Gamecock pub into 147 student beds returns for determination having been rejected on four separate occasions. 

Its most recent outing saw committee members go against officer recommendations to reject the application, despite being told there were no grounds to do so. 

The final student accommodation project up for determination next week is WUKPG’s 263-studio scheme on the corner of Plymouth Grove and Dryden Street in Ardwick.   

Meanwhile, Benjamin Property Company’s plans for a 25-storey scheme comprising 154 apartments off Cheetham Hill Road have also been recommended for approval by officers. 

Continue reading to find out more about the projects.

Upper Brook Street masterplan part one – Property Alliance Group/Moda Living 

Upper Brook Street PBSA , PAG Moda, p PAG

The scheme would see the redevelopment of an under-utilised area of the Oxford Road Corridor. Credit: via planning documents

Planning reference: 137401/FO/2023  

Life sciences architect: Hawkins\Brown  

PBSA architect: SimpsonHaugh  

Planner: AshtonHale  

Landscape architect: Reform  

Alliance plans to develop 470,000 sq ft of life sciences accommodation on its portion of the Upper Brook Street masterplan, which comprises the former Williams garages.    

The lab and office space would be spread across three buildings ranging from five to nine storeys.  

Meanwhile, Moda Living will deliver around 983 student accommodation units in a 30-storey tower in partnership with Alliance on the northernmost portion of the site.  

The student element was originally 42 storeys but was significantly scaled back to address concerns of local residents. It will still be the tallest element of the scheme and will feature 22% affordable provision.  

The student beds are the first to come forward from Moda Living’s 4,000-bed student accommodation pipeline, announced earlier this year.   

Moda’s student scheme, located on the northernmost part of the site, will provide the masterplan’s tallest building.  

WSP, Turley, Curtins, Ridge, Focus Transport, and Design Fire are also involved in the scheme. 

Upper Brook Street masterplan part two – Kadans/McLaren Property Group 

Upper Brook Street , PAG, p.PAG

The scheme is Kadans’ first in the North West. adans about its first project in the North West. Credit: via consultation documents

Planning reference: 137399/FO/2023  

Architect: Sheppard Robson  

Planner: AshtonHale  

Landscape architect: Reform  

McLaren Property wants to deliver 737 student beds within a 23-storey building on the site of the former Citroen garage on Upper Brook Street.   

Life sciences operator and developer Kadans, which recently won approval for Europe’s largest life sciences campus at Canary Wharf, is planning to develop a 215,000 sq ft lab complex on the site of Elizabeth Yarwood Court.   

The building would comprise eight floors, with its ground floor set to feature a startup incubator space.  

The city council is preparing to dispose of land on Upper Brook Street to pave the way for part of the scheme.  

Manchester City Council is planning to sign off the sale of Elizabeth Yarwood Court to Kadans.   

The site was previously earmarked for residential development as part of the Brunswick Housing Private Finance Initiative but was withdrawn in 2021 as the city council looked to facilitate regeneration along the Oxford Road Corridor.   

Landscape studio Reform is advising on the development’s public realm, which amounts to three acres and includes two public squares.

Fallowfield campus – University of Manchester 

Fallowfield campus, UoM, p planning docs

The scheme as viewed from Wilmslow Road. Credit: via planning documents

Planning reference: 138126/OO/2023 

Architect: Sheppard Robson 

Planner: Turley  

The University of Manchester wants to demolish various buildings at the Wilmslow Road site, including a 1960s tower block, and deliver 3,300 student beds as part of a £400m vision for the ageing campus. 

The scheme would see the tower block, Oak House, Owens Park, and Woolton Hall demolished. Together, those buildings provide around 2,370 student beds. 

These ageing buildings are to be replaced with 3,300 new student bedspaces – an increase of 300 units compared to a 2015 iteration of the scheme that did not materialise.  

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.     

Gamecock pub – Curlew Investments 

Gamecock pub third iteration, Curlew, p planning docs

The scheme has been reduced in height twice. Credit: via planning documents

Planning reference: 130387/FO/2021 

Architect: SimpsonHaugh Architects 

Planner: Turley 

The city council’s planning committee rejected proposals for a PBSA scheme on Boundary Lane for the fourth time in November after deciding existing residents should not have to put up with an influx of students.  

Curlew Investments’ project has been scaled down from 13 to nine storeys since it was first proposed in 2021 with the number of bedspaces also reduced from 261 to 146. However, not a single iteration of the project has been deemed acceptable by the committee.  

Committee members decided that the latest version of the project would render the neighbourhood unsustainable because it would result in an “imbalance of student numbers in a traditional residential area”. 

Director of planning Julie Roscoe warned the committee that there was no planning policy lever available to reject a proposal on those grounds.  

Plymouth Grove – WUKPG 

Plymouth Grove, WUKPG, p planning docs

The scheme is designed by DAY Architectural. Credit: via planning documents

Planning reference: 138294/FO/2023 

Architect: DAY Architectural 

Planner: Avison Young 

WUKPG wants to build a 263-studio PBSA scheme off Plymouth Grove. 

The project would be split into two blocks rising to six and eight storeys and would be operated by This is Fresh. 

The proposals include a gym and wellness studio, a private dining room, a TV lounge, and co-working spaces.  

Externally, there is an upper and lower courtyard proposed at ground floor level.  

In 2016, the site was the subject of redevelopment proposals from 1-5 Plymouth Grove Ltd, an SPV that featured former footballer Kelvin Etuhu among its directors.    

The company, which has since been renamed Via Homes, submitted plans for a 71-apartment scheme before withdrawing them.  

One Park Place – Benjamin Property Company 

One Park Place , Benjamin Property, p planning

Hodder + Partners designed the Cheetham Hill residential tower for Benjamin Property Company. Credit: via planning documents

Planning reference: 138302/FO/2023  

Architect: Hodder + Partners 

Planner: Zerum 

Benjamin Property’s plans for a part 25-storey, part 15-storey apartment block on the corner of Park Place and Cheetham Hill Road in Manchester were submitted in October. 

The 135,800 sq ft One Park Place will hold 46 one-bedroom flats and 108 two-bedroom ones, as well as nearly 2,000 sq ft of commercial space if the proposals can achieve planning permission in their current state. 

Benjamin Property Company is leading the charge to redevelop the Cheetham Hill site, which currently holds an 8,200 sq ft vacant industrial unit. Formerly home to a jewellery wholesaler, this building would be demolished to make way for the tower. 

In addition to the 154 apartments – of which 31 would be affordable – the project includes a semi-private courtyard and a roof garden on the 15th floor. 

Located within a 10-minute walk from Victoria Station and Shudehill Interchange, One Park Place is envisioned as a car-free development. Rather than parking spaces for vehicles, there will be 154 cycle storage spaces as well as two cycle stands next to the visitor entrance. 

While a maximum height of 25 storeys may seem out of character for the area currently, the scheme’s planning statement notes that there are multiple tall buildings being developed in the vicinity.  

Planning consultant Zerum highlights Muse’s New Victoria 25-storey residential tower off Corporation Street and Salboy’s Waterhouse Gardens 556-home resi blocks off Dutton Street as two examples. 

Your Comments

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I’m not expecting world beating designs but I’d say these are all-round very uninspiring blocks.

By Andee

If the residents want to make Gamecock pub a community hub they should buy the plot, otherwise this should be approved. The site sits next to the university with a students population.

By Anonymous

High-rise tower blocks create the typical dehumanized places of US cities; unlike European cities, which Americans visit to admire.

By Anonymous

As I understand it the residents complain about too many students in their local area, driven by lack of student accommodation. Developers offer solutions to build more student accommodation on old or unused land. Residents complain that will bring more students to the area. Surely the new builds would alleviate the strain on local, community houses and flats?

By Anonymous

Yes the Hulme residents’ arguments against development of the Gamecock are absolutely ludicrous, this is relatively modest, purpose-build accommodation that brings a vacant site back it into use. As others have said, if they want it to be something else, buy the site and submit a planning application. Otherwise this should be approved. Typically antagonistic attitude from Hulme residents once again.

By Anonymous

@Anonymous there are many thriving high rise cities in Asia.

By Anonymous

Everyone is into Life sciences now so we need more and that’s a good place to build close to the existing Oxford rd corridor. This place is thriving and that’s a good thing.

By Anonymous

These are hardly high rise towers Anonymous 10.24…of course that depends on where you live…sorry ! this is just development and a lot of it. Bungalows are great but they work best in the suburbs.

By Anonymous

But there’s never been any real evidence that PBSA takes much pressure off the existing housing stock for long-term residents, in spite if what the developers always claim. The vast majority of domestic students still want shared houses – the former family homes which PBSA is always supposed to be freeing up – while the shiny stuff is for international ones.
Added to existing pressure on housing in places like Hulme, it’s not surprising residents might want to see something done with scarce sites which is in scale and benefits the permanent local community.

By Rotringer

If these people who are criticizing tenants of Hulme,who are against purposely built student accommodation, why don’t they put there names on the comments. Instead of cowardness by writing there comments anonymously.

By Roy Bennett

Rich overseas students are clearly more important to property industry than housing young Manchester people.Too many in property industry have zero conscious and just chase money

By Bob Dole

@ Roy Bennett, if that is even your name. People can comment how they want, this is the internet.

By Anonymous

The Fallowfield development buildings should be twice the proposed height.
Not sure why Giant Skyscraper Fan is not on the case!
Seriously though what is wrong with these councillors? The students are bringing millions into the local economy and deserve a good standard of accommodation.

By Peter Chapman

Roy, the arguments against the purpose built student accommodation do not make any sense. The site is vacant so how can it be adding pressure on existing housing stock? At worst its impact will be neutral and at best it will reduce the demand on traditional family housing. In addition, as it’s a self-contained block on the edge of the university campus, any environmental impact will be minimal. The proposed building is the same scale as neighbouring buildings.

All the antagonism towards this from a handful of the local community makes those who complain look irrational.

By Anonymous

Reducing a proposed tower from 42 floors to just 30 floors to appease the NIMBY crowd is too cowardly I’m afraid.
40 floors in Manchester should be the bare minimum a tall tower should be now, what we need is taller more dense housing in scare brown belt inner city land, to help with lowering travelling, traffic and congestion and to support the local economy to thrive. Because the more people in an area, this will support local businesses with more trade.

By Roy Bennett

Curse those developers and their propensity to bring in thousands of wealthy students into a vibrant economy..how dare they. I would have preferred a derelict car park and the whiff of the 1970,s. Now that was home.

By Charlie Buffet

Rotringer – would you be able to share the links to the research on the statement re students wanting houses rather than PBSA. It would be interesting to read these in the context of these applications.

By Anonymous

Higher Education is one of GB’s most successful exports and any efforts to support this growth should be supported. Residents “not wanting students” is borderline discrimination. All of these sites are on underutilised derelict brownfield sites in close proximity to Uni’s…

By Anonymous

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