Lancaster student village work ‘to begin in the summer of 2017’

The view from Skerton Bridge
The view from Skerton Bridge

A major new student development in Lancaster would be completed within two years, if plans are given the go-ahead.

Global real estate firm Hines has applied to build a 600-bed student village, including the creation of eight new buildings up to eleven storeys high on wasteland between Bulk Road and Caton Road.

The proposed layout of the new student village

The proposed layout of the new student village

The company said the scheme would act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area, and is “excited by the opportunity to deliver a landmark development on the northern gateway to the city”.

The development includes a roof level lounge, a study library, gym and a cinema space.

Alex Knapp, Hines managing director, said: “We expect to start construction work to begin in the summer of 2017, and complete by September 2019, in time for the start of the academic year.

“We think the scheme will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area where there are a number of vacant properties, while the presence of an anticipated 600 students will also add vibrancy to the area while increasing trade for local businesses.

“As a location for investment in student accommodation, the appeal of Lancaster is very compelling.

“Lancaster University is one of the top ten universities in the UK, and along with the growing University of Cumbria, there is a vibrant student population. Our development team is working on a design which not only respects the architectural heritage of Lancaster, but also makes a positive contribution to the urban landscape.”

Mr Knapp said the site will be staffed 24 hours a day.

He added: “The city itself has a number wonderful qualities, including a pleasant walkable retail area with beautiful stone architecture.

“There is a growing trend for students preferring to live in city centre locations like this, with a short walk to the retail core, rather than in peripheral locations that might be closer to the university.

“Lancaster is also set to benefit from wider new developments, and we are delighted to be investing in the future of the city.”

Hines is a privately owned, global real estate firm based in the United States.

The company said it has recently entered the growing student housing market and is identifying prime development sites in strategic locations across the UK. Earlier this year Hines acquired six development sites across locations including Cambridge, Oxford and Brighton, and the development in Lancaster represents the latest opportunity in this on-going drive, a spokesman said.