Student hub will include nods to famous Prestonians

425 apartments will be placed around a courtyard
425 apartments will be placed around a courtyard
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A vast student hub that will incorporate the work of famous Prestonians in its design has received planning permission from the city council.

The new four to six storey facility at Sizer House off Moor Lane will provide 425 apartments based around a courtyard and will include a gym and prayer room.

Architect for the project, David Cox, told the committee on Thursday the “exciting” development would include a model of R2D2 from Star Wars as a nod to actor Kenny Baker.

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Meanwhile, aspects of the design would also pay tribute to renowned cartoonist Leo Baxendale, creator of the Bash Street Kids, he said.

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The plans were approved by a vote of 11 to one from committee members although the issue around the supply and demand of student accommodation in the city was highlighted.

Bids for several similar developments to be allowed to open to non-students have been given the green light in recent weeks.

This has led elected members to express concerns about their impact on parking and calls for a review of Preston’s student housing needs have been made.

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Coun Sue Whittam said: “It’s student accommodation only and I do hope it sticks to that and we don’t see another application in a year’s time, coming back that they want that condition removed for key-workers.

“Highways (officers) make it very clear that it wouldn’t be allowed unless it was student accommodation.”

Coun David Borrow said: "There's a real issue in ensuring that student accommodation takes place within the university campus and in a clear area, and this does.

"My biggest worry is when you allow development near to residential streets where there is a lot of parking as it would cause a problem.

"When it's in an area where there's very little parking, you wouldn't go and live there if you had a car. That's the key thing.

"I think it's an interesting development and because it concentrates the student development in the university campus area, I think that's a positive."

Coun John Swindells said: "We've seen a number of developments that have been built for students that have come with applications for key-workers and general use, it couldn't be clearer in the traffic and highway (part of the planning report) that development other than student accommodation would put an unnecessary strain on the local highway network, it couldn't be clearer than that.

He added: "It looks a great building, I must admit."