PWA advises on £15m Preston student scheme

Plans have been unveiled for a luxury student accommodation development in Preston which would become one of the city’s tallest buildings.

ASSH Investments has submitted an outline planning application for the 20-storey LoftHaus scheme in Great Shaw Street, close to the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) campus.

PWA Planning is advising ASSH Investments on planning matters for the development which has been designed by Preston-based David Cox Architects.

Preston’s second tallest building

LoftHaus features a striking ‘sculpted’ roof form and roof garden and would provide around 300 rooms, ranging from smart studios to deluxe apartments with en-suite bathrooms and fitted kitchens.

At 72 metres from ground floor to roof-tip, LoftHaus would be Preston’s second tallest building behind the Church of St Walburge.

Facilities provided within the building would include free breakfast, a 24-hour concierge service, onsite catering, private cinema, gym, study rooms, communal lounges, superfast broadband, car parking, and laundry and cleaning services.

Shoyab Musa, managing director of ASSH Investments, said: “This development will provide Preston with a new statement building while also creating jobs and economic growth.

“UCLan is creating a world class campus through its £200m investment and aspires to attract more students from across the globe. Our vision for LoftHaus is to set a new standard in luxury student living in Preston, helping UCLan to continue competing with the best.

“As a proud Prestonian, I feel proud to be bringing forward these plans which will help to further regenerate the city’s thriving student quarter.”

Daniel Hughes, associate at PWA Planning, said: “Today’s students expect a high degree of quality from their accommodation and this building would certainly meet this demand. It’s a well-designed building that would add to the range of student accommodation already in the city.

“The building will be Preston’s second tallest, but is positioned within the city’s existing cluster of tall office and residential buildings, minimising visual impact on the skyline. With a local developer and architect taking this forward, this will be a scheme that’s very much of Preston.”

‘Enlivening’ the skyline

David Cox, founder of David Cox Architects, said: “While Preston’s skyline has a recognisable profile and presence from afar, its tall buildings have an air of tiredness and their roofscapes are cluttered and unattractive.

“The addition of a new 21st century profile to the cluster of tall buildings will enliven the skyline and play a part in Preston’s emerging confidence and future. We have been working on LoftHaus for over a year and it’s great to finally be submitting our planning application.”

David Cox added: “From the research we’ve conducted of similar universities in other cities, Preston offers among the lowest levels of purpose-built student accommodation per student. At around 300 units, this scheme will go some way to addressing that imbalance.”

The scheme is proposed on the site of the Foresters Hall which currently provides 27 student rooms, but which have become outdated and inefficient.

Shoyab Musa is a Preston-based property developer and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and managing director of Kingswood Sales and Lettings, the Preston-based estate agency and property management company.

UCLan is now the UK’s eighth largest university and the third largest in the North West. According to a 2015 report by Regeneris Consulting, it contributes over £200m to the region’s economy annually and is one of the largest employers in Preston, supporting 4,300 full-time equivalent jobs in the region.