BRI Old Building, Marlborough Street
There is an excellent likelihood of a happy ending to this long planning story. Unite Students have retained Alec French Architects to make a planning application which the Society unreservedly supports. The proposal will retain and convert the original Marlborough Street building into 62 flats. The renovation will remove the later extensions and drainpipes that currently disfigure the façade and restore the street elevations.
The reuse of the Old Building for residential purposes is the outcome the Society has promoted from the beginning and is a planning and conservation gain. Behind the Old Building the redevelopment will reopen Earl Street (closed in the 1830s) to introduce a new public square to give local ‘lung’ space with the glimpse views through the site. After restoration, the Grade II listed Fripp’s Chapel will have community use. The remainder of the site will accommodate 416 student bedspaces in new 4, 5 and 6 storey buildings around a private enclosed square. The Society considers the student accommodation on the lower site is an acceptable balance of development against commercial need.
We welcome and support Unite’s efforts to improve the pavements, cycle ways and parking arrangements on Lower Maudlin Street and Whitson Street and tree planting. Graffiti and tagging will be a continuous problem. The Society suggests thought should be given to design out this form of anti-social behaviour. The Society has congratulated the development team on the outcome.