Huge student tower set to be built in Salford on old McDonald’s site

A look at how the Q student tower will look
A look at how the Q student tower will look

A 27-storey block of purpose-built student accommodation looks set to be built on the site of the former McDonald’s regional head office in Salford – with the developer coughing up £1m for ‘specific projects’.

Plans for the development on an acre of land in Cross Lane include the demolition of the existing building which served as its North West HQ until 2020 have been recommended for approval when the planning and transportation regulatory panel meets on Thursday (September 21).

The applicant, Q Developments Ltd, will be asked to contribute £1m for schemes to be determined by the city council, as part of the approval, under what is known as a ‘section 106’ agreement.

Plans for a new student accommodation tower block  in Salford have been recommended for approval.
Plans for a new student accommodation tower block in Salford have been recommended for approval.

The building would comprise of two masses – a 19-storey adjoined ‘shoulder’ and the main 27-storey tower – with a total of 538 bed spaces provided.

Pedestrians will gain access from Cross Lane, with a new landscaped plaza leading from the footway and a pelican crossing.

The proposal submitted by Q says the tower has been designed with a ‘clear and simple aesthetic’.

Q engaged in pre-application consultation with local community in January, with a leaflet distributed to 852 addresses near the site.

This resulted in a ‘statement of community involvement’ and in its summary of the responses there were concerns raised over existing issues with noise from students at the nearby McDonald’s restaurant and potential noise nuisance from student residents.

There were also fears over a possible loss of privacy from overlooking, impact on traffic flows and loss of views for residents of Albion Towers and Thorn Court.

Increased pressures on local services, including public transport capacity and healthcare provision were also issues of concern

The length of the consultation period was extended following criticism that it was too short.

But these objections are rebuffed in the report by planning officers which will be presented to councilors.

The application site is in zone four or ‘transport hub’ of the Crescent Development Framework (CDF) – intended to deliver a ‘successful and vibrant new city district’ – which was approved in 2021.

CDF will be ‘a landmark infrastructure project which reduces car dominance, connects communities and provides a hub for sustainable mass transit in Salford’, including integrated bus services, Metrolink services, mainline train services and cycle facilities.

Meanwhile, the city council planners have made recommendations following a crime impact statement for the area.

These include ‘appropriate glazing’, access controls, CCTV and intercoms and the provision of security staff or concierge.