A new student accommodation village is opening in a historic Preston Mill site, with plans for a wide range of communal facilities, an on-site gym and café to feature in the luxury apartments, as well as a reception and car parking facilities.
The plans to transform Oyston Mill, by the docks, have been approved by the town hall despite warnings that there was already a surplus of student housing in the city. The vote was almost unanimous with 11 votes for and only one against.
259 apartments are planned in the new block of flats, which will join the ranks of Tramshed and Friargate which opened this summer.
It is thought turning the long abandoned building into student flats will free up housing for families across the city.
The Labour representative for Moor Park said: “Over the last few years we’ve seen developments providing a lot of specifically student accommodation in the city centre and I think the long term effects will be to free up some of the terraced housing that was taken up when the university expanded 20 years ago.
“To see a lot of those houses that 20 or 30 people years ago would have families in to return to that use would be a really good step forward in terms of the development of the city.”
Despite being slightly off campus, council officers are confident that the transport links to the main campus will suffice, and the fact that it is within walking and cycling distance. They also stated that the demand for high standard accommodation was hard to ignore.
Businesses currently located in the building will have to relocate to make way for the new flats. David Crossley, who runs Big White Frog on the top floor of the premises, said: “There’s a lot of uncertainty. All we’ve heard is there’s another plan to convert the building into flats.
“I’d been thinking about spending money on my studio, redecorating it and putting new windows in. But there’s no point me doing that if we’re all going to have to leave.”
Preston architects Cassidy and Ashton are acting as agents for the Oyston company Denwis LTD. Representative Alban Cassidy said: “Unfortunately much of this site is vacant and has been for some time. On behalf of the owners of the building, we are considering different options to make best use of space available in the future.”