SimpsonHaugh is the architect. Credit: planning documents

Green light for Downing at Helix

The developer has secured consent to deliver accommodation for 411 students at the Newcastle city centre site.

Downing’s application was an update on plans approved in 2019 within the science-focused development, accessed from Heber Street.

In plans designed by SimpsonHaugh Architects, the developer can now deliver an accommodation block of up to 14 storeys at the vacant site.

This will include 293 studio apartments and 20 cluster apartments of four to five bedrooms each, making for a total of 411 student bedspaces.

Billed as Heron’s Yard, this represents the final phase of Downing Plaza, delivered over the last decade, comprising Newcastle University Business School, 1,800 student bedrooms, a 183-room hotel, and extensive retail space.

Heron’s Yard will include a landscaped courtyard and extensive internal amenity space, the developer said.

George Tyson, projects director at Downing, said: “We pride ourselves on helping to transform places by creating high quality spaces that enhance the local community and bring together the neighbourhood.

“This development reflects our long-standing commitment to providing the highest quality student accommodation that meets our ambitious ESG targets and the evolving needs of the city and its residents.”

The main changes to the scheme from the 2019 iteration are to layout. Officers said that the proposal is actually a reduced scheme from that previously consented, being 3% smaller in its footprint.

Approval had been recommended by planning officers, and Newcastle’s planning committee gave its verdict of “minded to grant permission” on Friday 9 June., with various conditions attached, the main one being a £174,185 contribution to open spaces. The consent specifies student accommodation only.

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