18th Jan, 2019

Student homes planned for historic city site

Rob George 12th Jan, 2018

A BID TO breathe new life into a Grade II listed building on Henwick Road has been launched by a student property company.

Purple Frog hope to develop the property into a 149-bedroom home for students by the summer of 2020 after showcasing their plans at a public consultation before Christmas.

The site being renovated has a rich history, as a former orphanage and more recently, the site of the YMCA.

The ambitious bid will see the developers preserve the historic Gothic-façade, while revamping and extending the interior to include a gym, study facilities, communal spaces, en-suite rooms and studio flats.

Purple Frog already manages properties for more than 2,500 students at sites in Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham.

Property chiefs have identified the city’s growing university and the rising percentage in students coming from outside Worcester to study.

As it stands, the University of Worcester currently subcontracts 500 bed spaces in the private sector, as it does not have enough accommodation to supply its students, according to the developers.

Bosses hope their proposals will tackle the problem, providing self-contained university accommodation, which in turn equally reduces the strain on local residential properties.

Managing director Patrick Garratt identified the city as an ideal location for the company’s expansion.

“There is clearly demand for high quality student accommodation and we’re looking forward to meeting that demand and providing a proper level of service to the tenants, the landlords, the investors and being good neighbours within the local community.”

James Pugh from DJD Architects has been at the forefront of this part of the project and said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to secure the future of one of Worcester’s most notable Victorian buildings while at the same time contributing to the growing success of the university.

“The investment in the historic fabric made possible by the contribution of additional new accommodation will put the building in good shape for many years to come.

“It will be rewarding to see the building continue to help shape the lives of the young people who pass through its doors, as it has done for more than 150 years already.”

The proposals will go before Worcester City Council planning chiefs in the coming months and Purple Frog will be working with YMCA bosses to relocate the charity.

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