Summix Capital (the developer) proposes to demolish the site to construct a mixed use scheme of 103 affordable co-living accommodation units aimed at young professionals who wish to live independently in the city centre, with dedicated communal space; 209 units of student accommodation in the form of ‘town houses’, cluster flats and studio accommodation, with internal and external communal and private amenity space; and separate co-working space and workshop units. The current buildings are negative features in the Old Market Conservation Area.
The Society’s concern is that there is strong evidence of an unmet demand for local employment and residential space. The Society supports purpose-built managed student accommodation and recognises that the site is suitably located, but a further concern is that Jacob Street already supports a substantial student population that this development would substantially increase. If the Council accepts that the inclusion of co-living apartments mitigates the loss of employment space and the increase of the student population, the Society supports the proposal to construct three buildings connected by landscaped courtyards.
This is a more imaginative design than much new build student accommodation. The design responds to the local terraces of houses and reflects the architectural character of Old Market’s distinctive past. The design uses brick and stone to give the buildings a sense of permanence and quality. The developer has revised the design to give a better relationship with the Grade II* listed Almshouses in Midland Road. The two new pedestrian links through the site between Jacob Street and Unity Street/Midland Road will be a planning gain.