March 17, 2022 11.59 am

University of Lincoln objects to more student flats – but developer’s set to get go ahead

There’s already a 2,670-bed surplus in the city

The University of Lincoln has objected to plans for accommodation for nearly 600 students in the city – but the proposals are still set to get the go ahead next week.

The City of Lincoln Council will be asked to grant permission to the Ashcourt Group’s  plans which would see the now-derelict former William Sinclair Holdings and Ruston buildings on Firth Road replaced with a series of ‘houses of multiple occupancy’ (HMOs), residential apartments and offices, across two phases.

The developer has said the build, located within a 10-minute walk of the uni campus, is in a suitable location and will help regenerate the area and meet the demand from the growing university.

However, in documents set to go before councillors next Wednesday, officers say the university has objected to the application.

“The objection states that there is a surplus of student accommodation in the city, currently of 2,670 beds which would rise to 3,542 in 2023 if the Firth Road and other pending schemes are granted,” said the report.

“Whilst those figures have been provided, specific details have not been included as to which of the pending schemes they refer nor where the existing 2,670 surplus are located within the city.

“The university objection states that the existing supply of student accommodation is sufficient to support the predicted forecast rise of student numbers over the next decade.”

How the site would be laid out.

A response from the applicants, however, has said there was “no policy requirement” to demonstrate student need.

“Ashcourt are confident that their scheme is viable and deliverable,” they said, adding it was based on a similar successful scheme in Hull.

They said the focus on providing townhouses will create “intimate individual student communities” largely used by second, third and fourth year students and will “compete with converted residential properties scattered across the city”.

The applicants believe this will reduce demand for HMOs in areas such as the West End and would free up “traditional housing stock” for families.

According to the documents, the first phase of the build will see 22 buildings including 67 residential units along with an office building and eight apartments.

Phase two will include a further three apartment blocks and nine HMOs.

In total the development will create around 586 bedspaces.

A photo looking towards the site. | Image: Daniel Jaines

The site will be accessed from Firth Road with pedestrian access to the east of the site.

Around 143 parking spaces will be included in phase one. And the developers have also included storage for 84 bikes in this phase.

Recommending approval, officers said: “The development would relate well to the site and surroundings, particularly in relation to siting, height, scale, massing, and design.

“Technical matters relating to highways, contamination and archaeology are to the satisfaction of the relevant consultees and can be further controlled as necessary by conditions.”

The Ruston Factory was demolished in 2019, and the site had previously been billed for housing or commercial development.