The University of Manchester has submitted plans for the redevelopment of the Fallowfield student campus.
This would include the demolition of Squirrel’s Bar along with Owens Park, Oak House, Woolton Hall, and the Limes.
Phase one of the three-phase project will see the demolition of the Owens Park tower block. Whilst there has not been a decisive start date, documents quote a “2023” start date for demolition.
Phase two will follow in 2025 with the teardown of Oak House and Woolton Hall, which would include Squirrel’s bar.
There is no confirmed date yet for the third phase, which will see the Limes knocked down.
The planning permission application comes over 8 years after its initial proposal, when consent for the BDP-designed development was granted in 2015.
So far, the plan is to “replace obsolete accommodation which is no longer fit for purpose” with 3,300 student bedrooms, 950 more than the current capacity. This will also include 21 accessible rooms and 55 staff accommodations.
A “drinking establishment” and “hot food takeaway” are also contained in the proposal but it is unclear at this stage as to whether these will be run by a private company.
Drawn plans indicate that the final result will include landscaped green areas and “enable a walkable campus environment” with the development of pedestrian footpaths.
The proposed project is of key concern to the rent strikers this academic year.
In a letter drafted by the rent strike group for Manchester city council, they state that they “very much support” plans to develop liveable accommodation but there was overall concern with how this might financially affect students.
Oak House is the second cheapest accommodation provided by the University of Manchester.
An unidentified member of the rent strike group shared fears that the University’s plan to knock it down was “using modernisation to push profitability.”
Those attending the rent strike demonstration on October 20 were concerned with how the proposed increase in ensuite accommodation might be “far above many student’s maintenance loans.”
Details on the application, which was validated on 29 September, 2003 can be found here.