Student flat plans for historic Lancaster locations

A number of developments for student apartments in historic Lancaster locations are set to go before councillors in the new year.

By Robbie Macdonald, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 27th December 2021, 12:30 pm
How some of the student flats might look.
How some of the student flats might look.

One is proposed for a site at St Leonard’s Gate, which includes some demolition work, while another is suggested for a listed building on China Street.

Retrospective planning permission is being sought for demolition of a workshop and the construction of a three and four storey building to create student accommodation for land at 108 St Leonard’s Gate.

Sixteen one-bed studios and a two-bed flat along with a bike and bin store room are proposed there.

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A plan of the proposals for land next to Church Bank and Greenways in Over Kellet.

The site is currently used partly for car parking and the Sugar House club, run by Lancaster University Students’ Union is located nearby, along with other residential apartments.

The applicant is named as Mr Mister in Lancaster City Council planning information and represented by a London-based agent called Mr Ion.

The application was first received in summer 2020 then went through some consultation stages in October and November. A listed building application has also been submitted to the council for removal of the buttresses and a stone boundary wall from 108 St Leonard’s Gate and the erection of the new building.

Councillors on Lancaster City Council’s development committee are being recommended by planning officers to approve the applications. Officers say the new student apartment buildings will enhance the area compared with the current car parking site and workshop.

Elsewhere for a listed building at 15 China Street, plans have been submitted for retrospective permission to change the use of the building’s first and second floor managers’ accommodation to student accommodation. One seven-bed student flat and one four-bed flat are proposed for the building.

The applicant is named as Mister Capital Holdings and architect Michael Harrison, of Tatham, is the agent.

A listed building application has also been submitted for the removal of a partition wall, installation of new partition walls and internal doors on the first floor, installation of partition walls and roof lights and the infilling of external doors on the second floor, and the installation of a ventilation system.

In the city council’s consultation, Lancaster University has raised a number of points but not objected to the scheme. The university has asked the city council for evidence about the supply and demand for student accommodation in the city centre and recommended that any student developments are homes under the Lancaster University Homes remit. It has also made general points about fire safety, light levels, noise and air quality.

However, planning officers are recommending refusal of the China Street application. Reasons include the concentration of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the area and fears that the upper floor changes would create sub-standard living conditions because of inadequate light and outlooks in some of the bedrooms.

Planning officers say it is unfortunate that the applicant had not spoken to them at an earlier point to see what development options might be acceptable.

In another planning application for the committee, permission is being sought for seven homes and an access road on land to the south-east of Church Bank in Over Kellet. The applicant is Lee Ogley/Fellside Land Developments and the agent is HPA Architects in Lancaster.

Officers are recommending approval of the scheme.

Finally, Kailey Purcel, of Darwen, is seeking permission to raise floor levels on housing plots 3,4,5 and 6 within a development of 36 homes on land off Marsh Lane and Main Street in Cockerham. This latest application to vary some of the conditions follows an earlier planning application for the development.

City council planning officers are recommending approval.

The planning committee is due to meet at Morecambe Town Hall at 10.30am on Monday, January 10.