Union North student scheme approved

Student accommodation developer, City Block, has secured planning consent for a 96-bed development designed by Union North Architects in Lancaster.

The £3.9m Victoria Court project in Penny Street is due to start on site in May with a completion date ahead of the start of academic year in 2012.

Steve Vant, director of Union North, based in Liverpool, described the scheme: "Situated south of the city centre the scheme addresses two distinct street frontages. The primary elevation reinterprets an existing stone facade that is juxtaposed with a matrix of inserted gold framed study bedroom windows and is 'fossilised' within an extended stone frontage.

Union North Lancaster"The secondary elevation bookends a habitable south facing wall that encloses an external private street and is clad in a routed metallic gold rain screen. The cladding takes its cue in colour, luminosity and pattern from the sandstone that defines the character of the Conservation Area.

"The two distinct elevations describe the character of two clearly defined accommodation wings that meet around a central communal courtyard. The proposals resolve the site's peculiarities, embraces it eccentricities whilst capitalising on orientation and various accommodation typologies to deliver the optimum in space, light and views."

Trevor Bargh, the Lancaster entrepreneur who founded City Block in 2003, said: "We are absolutely delighted the city council have given the go-ahead for an additional City Block development in Lancaster. This was a challenging scheme and I would like to thank the Lancaster planning officers for the robust and professional process."

HOW Planning advised City Block.

Design review body Places Matter! described the scheme as "a sophisticated and clever development that will provide a strong architectural statement for the historic city of Lancaster."

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