Green light for Freemen's Common Student Village

Leicester City Council’s Planning Committee approved plans yesterday for the new Freemen’s Common Student Village at the University of Leicester.

The comprehensive redevelopment of the Freemen’s Common site, which fronts Welford Road, will create a welcoming new neighbourhood for students to live, study and socialise.

The plans include a series of high-quality residences for around 1,200 students; a new 550-space multi-storey car park; a landmark Teaching and Learning Centre; as well as the sensitive refurbishment and extension of the Grade II-listed Freemen’s Cottages as the centrepiece of the scheme.

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.

Martyn Riddleston, Director of Finance at the University of Leicester, said: “We are delighted to see our plans for Freemen’s Common gain planning approval. This is a key project for the University, enabling us to replace decades-old student accommodation with a range of quality new academic and student facilities.

“The new student residences will provide a huge improvement in the quality and choice of accommodation for our students, including unrivalled new social facilities. The new Teaching and Learning Centre will deliver a next-generation learning environment, enabling our students and staff to benefit from the latest technological advancements.”

The Freemen’s Common project is being delivered in a partnership between the University of Leicester and a consortium led by Equitix.

Ben Leech, Project Director at Equitix, commented: “A huge amount of work has gone into the design of the scheme, so we are extremely pleased to have reached this milestone. We now move into the next stage of delivering these exciting plans, which will transform this site and provide a landmark development on Welford Road, a major gateway into the city.”

Demolition activity on the site is now underway, with main construction activity due to get started this summer. The multi-storey car park is due to complete in summer 2020, the Teaching and Learning Centre and the first residences will open in 2021, with the completion of the scheme as a whole by 2022.