Go ahead for massive student accommodation scheme at Birmingham gateway

Plans for a 1,000-bed student accommodation scheme in Birmingham have received the go ahead.

Lench Trust and ES Lancaster Birmingham plan to use land at Vesey Street, Lench Street, Lancaster Street and Lancaster Circus to create a complex offering 1,023 bed spaces to help meet demand for accommodation from the city’s growing student population.

One of the wings of the development will comprise a 24-storey tower, which will dominate the skyline of St Chads and the Lancaster Circus flyover.

The site lies in the city’s Gun Quarter and the developers said the intention was to construct a complex that integrated into its surroundings, while providing a vibrant addition to an area of the city centre in need of regeneration.

The proposed scheme is intended to meet the current shortfall of student accommodation in the city, a problem set to get worse as the city looks to expand its academic quarter.

Councillors on Birmingham’s planning committee said they were in favour of the scheme, although they were disappointed it was at the expense of car parking.

The development will consist of a total of 139 residential units comprising 103 studios and 158 clusters.

In addition to the residential element, the 24-storey development will also feature space for 256 bicycles, a general common area, reception, general office, lobby, cinema, and kitchen. The upper ground level also has its own common spaces and can extend to an external secure landscaped courtyard.

A mix of cluster units are proposed, from five-bed spaces to seven-bed units, together with a mix of studio sizes from 16.5sqm to above 21sqm.

The approved scheme has been amended slightly from the one originally proposed. Developers have agreed to angle the building so it faces onto Lancaster Circus, thereby giving it a ‘public’ face.

The overall massing of the scheme has also been significantly reduced, while the central core of the building has been reduced to accentuate the tower’s height.

The two towers which comprise each wing of the development are to be clad in different materials to help break up the massing and be more sympathetic to its surroundings.