The continued, developing presence of the University of Central Lancashire in Preston is considered to be of great importance in ensuring that the workforce of Preston, and Central Lancashire, has the skill base needed to maximise the area's economic potential.
The University also provides a vital source of higher education for local residents, and those from outside the area.
History of the University
The University has expanded rapidly over the last decade and now has over 30,000 students.
Continued growth of the University, whilst fully supported by the Council, provides challenges in ensuring sufficient accommodation is available to house students who wish to study in the City.
To help ensure that adequate provision is made for the expansion of the University and that proposals for further student accommodation do not have an adverse impact on the main residential areas of Preston, the area identified as HS6 on the Policies Map, and corresponding Policy HS6 will apply to proposals associated with the University, including student accommodation.
HS6 - Central Business District (CBD)
The area identified as HS6 on the Policies Map, sits adjacent to the city centre boundary and the proposed Central Business District (CBD) allocation. The CBD is the subject of an SPD adopted by the Council in April 2011.
The main objectives of the SPD are to harness the University's specialism and help to retain graduates of the University by promoting specialist and knowledge based industries within the CBD area, whilst also allowing an element of new student accommodation.
The University's importance to the City
The growth and expansion of the University is of great importance to the City and the wider Central Lancashire area. The mixture of uses encouraged within the area identified as HS6 on the Policies Map, along with the mixture of uses promoted within the adjacent CBD area will facilitate graduate retention and help to harness the full economic benefits of a rapidly expanding university.
Nevertheless, this growth requires careful management. The encroachment of student accommodation into residential areas outside the HS6 area could have an adverse impact on the character of neighbourhoods and amenity of residents. The Council will seek the views of the University for all new student accommodation proposals.
Policy HS6 controlled criteria
As such proposals for student accommodation outside the HS6 area will be strictly controlled and subject to the criteria set out in Policy HS6. Criteria (a) - (e) in Policy HS6 will ensure that new student accommodation outside the defined area:
- i. Does not result in an over-supply of student accommodation and increase vacancy levels of existing accommodation within the defined area;
- ii. Provides a tenure and type of student accommodation that will add to the current
portfolio e.g. accommodation to provide for students with special needs;
- iii. Does not have an adverse impact on existing residential neighbourhoods;
- iv. Is located in an area well served by public transport and easily accessible to the University.
- v. Is of an appropriate density taking into account neighbouring land uses and density.
The Council will explore the potential preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to help guide and support the expansion of the University within the University Campuses as defined by Policy HS6 and Policy EP6.