SimpsonHaugh is the architect. Credit: planning documents

Downing adjusts plans at Helix plot

The developer is now seeking to deliver 411 student bedspaces within the Newcastle city centre science-focused development area.

Downing, which already has a conditional consent at the plot, wants to build an accommodation block of between eight and 12 storeys of accommodation at the vacant site.

This will include 293 studio apartments and 20 cluster apartments of four to five bedrooms each.

Downing’s plans will be heard at Newcastle’s planning committee meeting on 9 June. The reference number is 2022/1967/01/DET.

The main changes to the scheme are to layout. Officers said that the proposal is actually a reduced scheme from that consented, being 3% smaller in its footprint. However, the 22019 proposal approved conditionally in 2021, was for residential accommodation in general only providing 169 homes.

There is also a wider outline consent dating to 2012 for the 24-acre city quarter then billed as “Science Central”, this being before the Helix name was given.

SimpsonHaugh is the architect for Downing, with the professional team also including Groundshire and geotechnical and environmental advisor Dunelm.

Approval is recommended with officers noting that “the design would reflect the size and contemporary design forms of adjacent sites with its occupation by students adding to the vibrancy and activity of the area, providing associated benefits to footfall and local commercial uses.

“The design provides for an acceptable level of outlook and amenity to its future occupants, whilst protecting those of its neighbours, when assessing the impacts against previously approved development on the same site. No harm is identified to the setting of the adjacent listed building on Bath Lane.”

Downing has long had a reputation for delivery of student accommodation and residential schemes across the North, with successes including Leeds’ Broadcasting Place.

The Liverpool-headquartered firm is currently advancing an ambitious 1,780-unit co-living scheme across three buildings in Manchester, securing a £277m loan in January for phase one.

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