180 student rooms plan for Lancaster office block

St Leonards House

St Leonards House

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Another week, another planning application for student accommodation in Lancaster.

This week, Lancaster City Council and construction firm Robertson applied to convert the council owned St Leonards House, in St Leonards Gate into a total of 180 student bedrooms.

The city council said the building, currently used for office space, had become an “expensive liability” rather than an asset, and the development would act as a catalyst for regeneration in the Stonewell area.

The city council has not revealed how much cash it will be investing in the project.

The plans are for a change of use from offices to student accommodation made up of 81 studios, four 4-bed, seven 5-bed and eight 6-bed cluster flats, a gym and communal facilities. The work will include internal demolition and alterations, installation of a replacement roof to create additional living accommodation and recladding of existing rear stairwells.

Coun James Leyshon, cabinet member for property, said: “The city council’s property portfolio has to be managed in a way that ensures value for money so as to protect other council services to the public.

“St Leonards House has not been fully utilised as office accommodation for a number of years and has become an expensive liability for the council rather than an asset. Although the building is now surplus to our requirements, we want to ensure that it plays a full part in the regeneration of this important part of Lancaster. If approved, the redevelopment will act as a catalyst for regeneration in the immediate area and help to free up homes which are currently shared by students to the domestic housing supply chain for local residents.”

Last week, major plans for a student village on wasteland in the city were revealed by London based Hines Ltd. The proposed development on land between Caton Road and Bulk Road features a total of 630 student bed spaces across eight new buildings.