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Watkin Jones is bringing forward proposals for high quality and attractive purpose-built managed student accommodation on the site of the USDAW building, off Wilmslow Road, in Fallowfield.

The plans will provide an alternative to Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) in the Fallowfield area, in turn supporting enhanced student wellbeing and facilitating the freeing up of properties for the mainstream residential market.

 

A key aim of the redevelopment is to retain and enhance the historic Oakley Villa giving it a new use for a generation. The plans would mark a new chapter and viable use for the site, with the accommodation expected to be more affordable than comparable City Centre products.

 

We recently held a public consultation so that we could hear the views of local residents, students and stakeholders. We are now reviewing the feedback received ahead of the submission of a planning application being submitted to Manchester City Council.

What is happening?

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) recruits, organises and represents workers in the retail, distributive, manufacturing, and service sectors. The Union is moving to another location, to a building which better suits its needs. USDAW’s intention to relocate elsewhere is driven by high maintenance and running costs, an unsuitable building layout and outdated facilities. The building’s current configuration is disjointed and there are changes in level throughout the building, limiting the ability to achieve disability access throughout the building. Overall, it is not suitable for a modern organisation.

Our proposals

Watkin Jones is bringing forward plans to redevelop USDAW’s offices, off Wilmslow Road in Fallowfield, and deliver new purpose-built managed student accommodation.

The proposed scheme aims to:

Deliver a desirable purpose-built managed student residence, capable of housing c.440 students in the heart of Fallowfield;

Establish a student residential cluster of buildings with a strong sense of place, forming an internal landscaped courtyard which is anchored around the historical Oakley Villa;

Deliver a development that captures the character of the area and celebrates the heritage of the site;

Create new communal facilities within Oakley Villa, including a cinema room, multimedia/gaming room, lounge areas and meeting rooms;

Maintain the mature tree canopy within and adjacent the site wherever possible, with any trees needing to be removed replaced elsewhere on site;

Obscure the new facilities from public view so that the historic villa and dense tree canopy are the visual focus for those viewing the site from either Wilmslow Road or Langley Road.

The scheme provides an attractive alternative to Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) in the Fallowfield area, in turn supporting enhanced student wellbeing and facilitating the freeing up of properties for the mainstream residential market. The plans would mark a new chapter and viable use for the site, with energy efficiency being a key element of the design and material use.

To find out more, please visit our Virtual Exhibition

View our virtual exhibition

Professionally managed to ensure student well-being

Once built, the development is expected to be managed by Fresh, a leading expert in the purpose-built accommodation sector.

 

Fresh manages student accommodation across the country with one simple objective – to provide exceptional service to the clients whose properties they manage, and to the students who live in them.

 

Fresh’s customer facing services are delivered locally by directly employed site-based staff. The teams are led by professional and experienced Accommodation Managers, who are responsible for the day-to-day running of each site, marketing to potential new tenants, health and safety compliance and working and liaising with Universities, the local community, and other stakeholders.

Support is provided to the site-based staff by an experienced specialist Central Services department, whose areas of expertise provide the Accommodation Teams with a detailed delivery framework, ensuring consistency of service delivery in line with recognised good industry practice.

 

Fresh works in tandem with Universities and Colleges to provide a positive ‘student experience’ and ensure seamless access to shared services by integrating into the University’s pastoral care regime and ancillary services. The on-site teams play a vital part in supporting students and providing a link between academic life and ‘home’ life.

Location

The site is located off Wilmslow Road, linking Fallowfield to Manchester City Centre and the main University campuses and sits adjacent to the University of Manchester’s Fallowfield campus. It is bound by Langley Road to the south and Platt Fields Park to the west and south. It is currently occupied by USDAW’s offices, with the union planning to move to another location.

The site is ideally located for student accommodation, given its proximity to existing student accommodation and Fallowfield District Centre. Furthermore, it’s eastern boundary is formed by a major bus stop on Wilmslow Road taking students in Fallowfield to the Universities and Manchester City Centre. Delivering high quality, expertly managed, purpose-built student accommodation at this site would mean students can reside in facilities that are best suited to their needs, in turn reducing pressure on the area’s housing stock and addressing some of the issues arising from unmanaged student accommodation.

Design

Design is an important aspect of the proposals we are bringing forward.

The building’s current configuration is disjointed; changes in level throughout the building limit the ability to achieve disability access throughout the building and the office layout limits the ability for internal teams to work closely together. Our proposals would regenerate the site and establish a cluster of student accommodation with a strong sense of place, including an internal landscaped courtyard and a contemporary approach to anchoring the important heritage assets of Oakley Villa to the scheme.

 

To find out more about the design principles we are promoting as part of this development, please visit our Virtual Consultation.

FAQs

If you have any questions about our plans, check below to see our frequently asked questions and answers. For all other questions, please visit our contact page.

What type of accommodation is proposed?

The proposals will deliver approximately c.440 bedrooms across 48 clusters, alongside a series of social facilities, including communal amenity areas. There will be between 6 – 8 bedrooms per flat, all of which will have en-suite facilities.

Why do we need more student accommodation?

There has been a very limited amount of new student accommodation delivered across the city over recent years compared to the growing number of students the city is attracting through its successful higher education institutions. This is creating pent up demand which is leading to affordability issues for students and an increasing tendency for students to occupy mainstream residential accommodation. This has an impact on communities, on student wellbeing and on Council Tax revenue.

The site is ideally located for student accommodation, given its proximity to existing student accommodation and Fallowfield District Centre. Furthermore, it is located along a central bus route which connects Fallowfield to the Universities and Manchester City Centre. Delivering high quality, managed, purpose-built student accommodation at this site would mean that students can reside in facilities that are best suited to their needs, in turn reducing pressure on the area’s housing stock.

Have you considered other uses for this site?

Due to the building’s current configuration, it is not suitable for a modern organisation. As such, the newer buildings on site – not including Oakley Villa – will need to be replaced to repurpose the site. Given the site’s position on the corridor connecting Fallowfield with the Universities and City Centre, the location is considered best suited for purpose-built student accommodation.

What will happen to the Oakley Villa?

The historic Oakley Villa is retained and enhanced.  The scheme is designed around this period building thus making it the centrepiece of the redevelopment proposals. It will be enhanced to house the management offices and student facilities giving it a new use for a new generation.

What are Watkin Jones’ plans in terms of landscaping the site?

Watkin Jones will maintain the mature tree canopy along the street and park edges around the site, with any trees needing to be removed, for example due to rot, replaced elsewhere on site. A high-quality landscaped area will front the site and a new central courtyard created.

What impact will the proposals have on ecology and wildlife?

The scheme includes appropriate on-site habitat protection and enhancement measures. The recommended mitigation includes the minimisation of tree loss, habitat protection during construction and the planting of native species.

Will the development be noisy?

A Noise Assessment will be submitted alongside the planning application. However, through effective management of the use and appropriate design, the potential for any disturbance will be minimised.

How will the site be accessed?

The site will be accessed via Langley Road. Given the site’s proximity to local bus services, it is expected that the vast majority of residents will use the local bus services, as well as cycle and walkways on Wilmslow Road that connect the site to Fallowfield Central, the Universities and City Centre. Parking spaces will be made available for disabled residents who require them.  Servicing of the development will be designed into the proposals and be appropriately managed, conscious of residential amenity.

Will parking be provided?

Limited parking will be available (c.9 bays) as students are discouraged from bringing cars within the FSL tenancy agreement. The available spaces will include disabled parking bays and provision will be made on site for temporary parking arrangements when term starts and ends for students to move their belongings in and out of the accommodation.

In the current climate, we need jobs, jobs, jobs. How will this development create new jobs?

The scheme will create new employment opportunities during the construction phase, both directly and indirectly through the supply chain. The development industry, including its supply chain, is a major contributor to both national and local economies as part of the wider construction sector, both through the employment it creates and the investment it makes in the sites being built. In addition, employees will be needed to manage the facilities, for example security staff and front of house management.

Will there be an out of hours contact for local residents?

An out of hours service will be provided by security personnel who are SIA accredited. We also ensure that there is a maximum of 2-3 dedicated Security Staff that become part of the Accommodation Team and are familiar to the tenants, rather than having a different person on each shift. Security will provide an on-site presence and will be the first response for any emergencies and will carry out regular patrols of the interior and exterior of the building.

Local residents would be encouraged to contact a member of the team should they have any complaints or grievances.

When do you expect to submit this application?

Once all feedback has been reviewed, a reserved matters planning application is expected to be submitted in the coming months. It is envisaged that the site could be ready for September 2023.

Who are you consulting?

We recently held a public consultation so that we could hear the views of local residents, students and stakeholders. We are now reviewing the feedback received ahead of the submission of a planning application being submitted to Manchester City Council.

Contact Us

We recently held a public consultation so that we could hear the views of local residents, students and stakeholders. We are now reviewing the feedback received ahead of the submission of a planning application being submitted to Manchester City Council.

 

Should you have any questions about the plans, you can contact us in one of the following ways:

 

Your Feedback

Send us your feedback by filling in our online feedback form here

Calling

0333 358 0502

(Monday to Friday – 9.00am to 5.30pm)

Emailing

watkinjonesfallowfield
@havingyoursay.co.uk

To view our virtual exhibition and find out more about the proposals, please visit our virtual exhibition page.

Visit our virtual exhibition here