Lancaster University’s new Manchester campus, created in collaboration with the “class of 92” footballers has been approved by local authorities, after complaints from residents forced the withdrawal of plans for substantial amount of student accommodation.
The campus, which is supposed to open in September 2019, is part of a substantial redevelopment led by Trafford’s Conservative Council and Trafford College.
The tower block, which would have acted as a vertical “student village”, came under severe criticism from local residents. A petition launched on the website change.org by local resident Heather Garlick managed to amass over 1000 signatures. It described the developments as risking an infrastructure “overload”:
“We feel the incumbent population will completely unbalance the amazing diversity we enjoy in Stretford and mean that all future commerce is geared towards a very distinct set of needs that don’t reflect the rest of the population. We worry that the houses in the local area will become student housing.
“But most of all we feel that the student village will destroy the tight and active community feel that Stretford currently enjoys”
Commenters on local community Facebook pages voiced the fear that in the future the access of Stretford residents to local services would “restricted or reduced in favour of students.”
“Student accommodation plans are progressing well and we are confident that high quality accommodation will be ready in time for September 2019.”
When pressed on whether Lancaster University was the first choice of partner, the University said:
“We would expect the Class of 92 to have explored options with a variety of
different partners during the planning stages of such a large project, but they
were particularly interested in Lancaster because of its top ranking in the
North West and top ten position nationally.”
“The ideas presented by the Class of 92 matched closely with a number of things that
the University already does very well, particularly innovation, widening
participation and employability. We felt Lancaster could make a strong
contribution to a project which seeks to do things differently.”
“The consultation has now tested the appetite for this venture which is designed to
address opening up the Higher Education marketplace to new and innovative ways
of delivery and involving businesses in Higher Education and preparing
students for working life.”
Conservative Council Leader has repeatedly defended the proposals as a boost to the Trafford area.
“The proposal will add £26m per year to the local Trafford economy, helping to create jobs and build on the thriving community here in Stretford and Old Trafford. Of course there will be a public consultation phase of the project in partnership with the local community. But in my view it presents a fantastic opportunity to revitalise and support our local communities. It will create jobs and attract 6,500 students to the borough by 2028.”