Planning submitted for Leicester’s multi-million student village

A plan to transform educational and accommodation facilities at the University of Leicester has been put forward.

Last year, the University announced proposals for the redevelopment of its facilities at Freemen’s Common and carried out an extensive public consultation programme with local stakeholders.

Now, the University and its development partners Equitix and Kier have submitted proposals to Leicester City Council for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Freemen’s Common site.

New images show how the proposed development will provide a striking new addition to Welford Road, one of the major gateways into the city.

The Freemen’s Common Student Village, located five minutes’ walk from the University’s central campus, will include a series of high quality residences for around 1,200 students, a new 550-space multi storey car park and the sensitive refurbishment and extension of the Grade II listed Freemen’s Cottages as the centrepiece of the scheme.

A new four-storey Teaching and Learning Centre will provide a landmark building for the University. It will include two large lecture theatres and a range of flexible teaching spaces which will enhance the quality of the University’s academic facilities.

Core to the overall strategy for Freemen’s Common is to breathe new life into this aging site and create new links through the area and into the city centre.

The new buildings will be set within an impressive landscaping scheme of tree lined walking routes, wildflower planting and gardens, with two generous public spaces providing a focal point to the design. Following discussions with local residents and community groups, extra attention has been paid to the new high-quality public walking routes through the site and improvements to the environment and crossings on Welford Road and Putney Road.

Brita Sread, Director of Estates and Campus Services at the University of Leicester, said,

“Freemen’s Common is an important project within our overall estates strategy, driven by our commitment to provide the highest quality facilities to inspire collaboration, achievement and wellbeing for students, staff and visitors. The site is in a prominent location within the city and we want to work with our partners to deliver a quality development that will stand the test of time.

“We were clear from the outset that we wanted Freemen’s Common to provide a welcoming campus feel for our students and staff, but also be open and accessible to all members of the local community. I’m confident that our proposals will transform this site into a new neighbourhood that will be attractive, well used and safe.”

Ben Leech, Project Director at Equitix, added:

“The ethos behind the design is to provide a real home-from-home environment for the next generation of students. The scheme will provide an extensive range of residential options and impressive social facilities, including a new café bar, drop in study spaces and relaxation areas.

“The incorporation of the historic Freemen’s Cottages into the scheme will create a blend of old and new and provides an opportunity to deliver something genuinely unique. We’re looking forward to giving these buildings a new lease of life.”

Subject to planning, construction is due to start in late summer 2018 with completion in autumn 2020.