Student village in historic Burnley quarter a step closer

Plans for a £9m. student accommodation development in the heart of an historic part of Burnley are set to move a step closer.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 2:02 pm
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 3:08 pm
Artist's impression of the new student accommodation

Burnley Borough Council Development Control Committee members are due to discuss plans to knock down the former Neptune pub on the outskirts of Burnley town centre and replace it with a four-storey 136-bedroom building at Sandygate Square including laundry room, gym, reception, study/resources room and hub for UCLan students.

The proposal is located in the same place council bosses planned to build a luxury £10m. apartment block with 130 ‘hotel suites’ in 2014.

However the hotel plans have been scrapped and instead new plans have been created to form the next phase of the On the Banks development.

Bosses at UCLan said they expect student numbers to grow at the campus from 400 to 4,000 by 2025.

Historic England did not object to the scheme as a while but voiced concerns over the loss of the Neptune pub and said it could have been repaired and converted as part of the new accommodation.

There would be 136 en-suite single bedrooms, including five accessible rooms, and these would be arranged in clusters of three, four and five bedrooms with communal kitchens, dining and living rooms.

Head of housing and development, Paul Gatrell, said: “The development will deliver a wide range of significant social, economic and environmental benefits and would represent sustainable development in line with national and local policies.

“The site is in an accessible location for student accommodation in close proximity to the newly opened UCLAN campus at Victoria Mill.

“The development is consistent with the heritage and regeneration policies of the local plan and it will help to deliver the planned expansion of the student population and the council’s ambition to transform Burnley into a leading university town.

“A key vacant site in the Weavers’ Triangle will be regenerated which will complete the planned redevelopment of Sandygate Square.

“The demolition of Neptune Inn has been fully justified and the new building has been designed to reflect and reinforce the role of the Neptune Inn in terms of its contribution to the character and appearance of the local townscape.”

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application reads: “The site was recently redeveloped in 2014 into Sandygate Square to provide an open public realm and was previously covered with overgrown mature trees and a footpath link to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath.

“Prior to this the history of site goes back to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century and was occupied by a mill and weaving shed which formed part of the Weavers' Triangle.

“All that remains of this is the north weaving shed wall along Wiseman Street and a locally-listed Neptune public house which has been derelict for some years,” the statement adds.

“A contemporary yet sensitive palette of high-quality materials have been selected for the development which connect the building to the heritage of the site and the future and present regeneration ongoing in the area which create a homogenous appearance and identity to the area.”

It is hoped that the development will be completed by autumn 2020.