Public invited to have their say on University of Leicester development plans

Posted by ap507 at Oct 31, 2017 01:38 PM |
Proposals for a new student village at Freemen’s Common unveiled

Issued by University of Leicester on 31 October 2017


  • Proposed new student village located five minutes’ walk from the University’s central campus
  • New student residences, teaching and learning facilities and multi-storey car park
  • A range of new social facilities including café bar with indoor/outdoor space and social study spaces, some of which will be within the renovated Freemen’s Cottages
  • All set within an impressive landscaping scheme of new squares and gardens and new pedestrian routes
  • Opportunities for local people to view the plans and have their say

Artist’s impression of the proposed development:

Earlier in October, the University of Leicester announced a transformative £500 million programme of investment that will improve student and academic facilities as well as public spaces over the next decade.

Now, as part of that programme, the University and development partners Equitix and Kier have revealed the first images of their planned new student village at Freemen’s Common, and are inviting people to have their say. This marks the start of a consultation with the local community – including staff and students – prior to the submission of a planning application.

The proposed development includes new accommodation for around 1200 students across seven new blocks; a flexible new academic building – the Teaching and Learning Centre; and a 550-space multi-storey car park.

A key feature of the development is to include the social spaces and facilities to provide a real home-from-home environment for the next generation of students. This will include a new café bar with indoor/outdoor space, as well as a screen room, games area and social study areas. The outdoor spaces form a central part of the scheme, including a series of new gardens, squares, wildflower planting and trees. This will create a series of inviting spaces that provides a sense of relaxation and wellbeing, as well as playing a vital role in encouraging biodiversity.

The Teaching and Learning Centre is being developed to provide the type of flexible academic space the University needs to enhance the quality of its teaching. The five-storey building will include two lecture theatres as well as a series of teaching rooms, seminar rooms, computer cluster rooms and social learning spaces.

This new student village will replace the existing student residences at Freemen’s Common which are coming to the end of their lives, the University-owned surface car park and also the Dry Dock pub on the other side of Putney Road. The University has been consulting with the Students’ Union over provision of social space and the proposals include a social hub building which will include a café bar where, though alcohol will be on offer, the intention is to create a venue that appeals to a wide range of people in a welcoming environment serving hot and cold drinks and offering casual dining.

Importantly, the development will protect and renovate the Grade II listed Freemen’s Cottages, which were built in the 19th Century.

The proposals at Freemen’s Common form a key part of the University’s wider estates transformation programme, which is a ten year vision to invest in teaching and research facilities, student accommodation and the public spaces around the University.

Brita Sread, Director of Estates and Campus Services at the University of Leicester, said: “The new student village at Freemen’s Common is a key project within our estates transformation programme. We identified this site as having the potential to create a fantastic new environment for students to live, study and socialise. It is ideally located adjacent to our central campus.”

Ben Leech, Project Director at Equitix, added: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Leicester on this major scheme. The unveiling of the first images marks a major milestone and we are keen to hear the views of local residents and people from across the city in the coming weeks as we finalise the proposals.”

Two pre-planning application consultation events are being held next week:

Wednesday 8 November 2017

2.30pm to 8:00pm

Big Shed Conferencing, 93 Commercial Square, Leicester LE2 7SJ



Friday 10 November 2017

2:30pm to 6:30pm

Council Rooms 1 and 2, Fielding Johnson Building, University of Leicester, LE1 7RH


Following the consultation events, the team will be working to finalise the proposals and submit a planning application before the end of the year.

Equitix and Kier were announced as the University’s preferred development partner for the Freemen’s Common development last month. Subject to planning, construction is due to get underway in early summer 2018 with completion of the whole scheme scheduled for September 2020.





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