This is who else will be able to live in Preston's new student accommodation block

A huge student accommodation block being built in Preston will also be made available to non-student occupants.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 4:42 pm

Key workers and apprentices will be able to take rooms in the Sizer House development, off Moor Lane, within the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) campus.

The 425-room facility – proposed by Pillars Sizer Limited – was first granted planning permission in 2018 on the basis that it would be for students only.

However, the developer now wants to open up the complex to other groups – and has been given the go-ahead by Preston City Council’s planning committee.

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Image of the how the new student accommodation block on Sizer Street could look (image: David Cox Architects via Preston City Council planning portal)

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It will remain available to students in full-time education, but also those undertaking apprenticeships – whether graduates or postgraduates on such programmes or anybody “who is employed in a structured programme of training in a trade or profession with an employer or a formally recognised scheme” in the locality.

The accommodation will also be open to key workers – defined as anybody working locally in “a school or other educational establishment; a hospital or other health establishment; the police force, fire or ambulance service; social services; the armed forces; national and local public services; agriculture, forestry or fishery; and any other industry which [the city council regards as]… of critical economic importance in the local area”.

Planning officers recommended the revised scheme for approval after considering the potential impact of the changes on parking.

What will now be accommodation for students, key workers and apprentices is taking shop off Moor Lane on land previously occupied by UCLan's Sizer House building (image: Neil Cross)

They concluded that both of the additional categories of occupant would be likely primarily to include young people attracted to the site because of its accessibility – and who would be less likely to own their own car.

“Furthermore, potential occupants would commit on the basis that they understand that the accommodation is not suited to occupants with private cars,” a report to the committee stated.

The block, which will range from four to six storeys in height, will be based around self-contained studio apartments and communal facilities including a gym, prayer room, lounges and study spaces, a library and roof terrace.

At the ground floor level, there will be two commercial units – with permission for a café and a “public house, wine bar or drinking establishment” with food provision.

The meeting heard that accommodation will be offered only on a temporary basis, meaning that council tax will not be due on any of the apartments – and neither will they count towards Preston’s annual housing targets.

The facility is under construction on the site of UCLan’s former single-storey Sizer House building and car park, on land bound by Moor Lane, Castle Street, Ashmoor Street and Sizer Street.

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