Controversial 214-bed student tower block gets planning go-ahead at University of Cumbria's Lancaster campus

A tower block at the University of Cumbria's Lancaster campus is to be demolished and replaced with a new 10-storey student housing block.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Monday, 26th April 2021, 12:31 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 12:34 pm
How the new tower would look from Bowerham Road looking up Havelock Street. Photo: Lancaster City Council
How the new tower would look from Bowerham Road looking up Havelock Street. Photo: Lancaster City Council

Members of Lancaster City Council's planning committee gave the plans the green light when they met this morning, Monday April 26.

The application - for the demolition of the existing 10-storey William Thompson tower and other buildings and the erection of an eight, nine and 10-storey building to provide student accommodation - was initially deferred at a meeting last month over drainage concerns.

The new accommodation will provide 214 en-suite bedrooms arranged in clusters of five or six with each cluster served by a kitchen/dining area and additional shared social space on each floor.

How the new tower would look from the top of Golgotha Road. Photo: Lancaster City Council

Further communal student social space will be provided on the ground floor along with with conference facilities, a bar/café, laundry, cycle store, plant room and servicing facilities.

The replacement block will provide an extra 49 student beds than the current block.

Many residents living near the Bowerham campus had objected to the proposals over concerns about the scale of the development and its impact on traffic, parking, pollution and wildlife, among other fears.

But the plans had been recommended for approval by council officers, and were voted through with 10 in favour, two against and two abstentions.

The plans form part of a larger development scheme by the university first unveiled last April which also included two proposals which were approved last month.

Applications submitted by the university for a supported living facility and an extra care village to be built on campus were both approved at last month's planning meeting.The decisions mean a new four-storey extra care residential building will be built overlooking Coulston Road, and the current Barbon Hall and Hornby Hall will be converted into affordable residential apartments.

In addition, the university tennis courts will be redeveloped with a new access road leading from nearby Anderson Close to form a new two-storey supported living facility comprising 13 one-bedroom flats.