Crown House – the derelict former DWP building in Huddersfield town centre – is to become student accommodation, taking its inspiration from the proposed National Health Innovation Campus nearby.
The 1970s 11-storey building, which was home to the Department for Work & Pensions and later Huddersfield Job Centre, closed in 2019.
There have been several planning applications since, most recently for 85 apartments in 2021, but none have moved forward.
Last December, Abode Manchester 2 Ltd, a company which specialises in student accommodation, submitted plans to Kirklees Council to turn the building into student-only living accommodation with 198 studio flats arranged across floors one to nine.
Crown House in Southgate is next to the site of the demolished Huddersfield Sports Centre and is near where the University of Huddersfield has permission for the £250 million National Health Innovation Campus, which will train the next generation of health workers.
Groundworks have already started on the first building, the Health & Wellbeing Academy, which will become the new home to the university’s School of Human & Health Sciences.
The planning application says while there is a mix of student accommodation in Huddersfield, there is a shortage of “purpose-built student accommodation.”
A survey found 26% of students felt there was “insufficient choice” and that studio apartments, like those proposed for Crown House, were “sought after.”
The building will have a cinema, gym, study area, coffee bar and open plan lounge on the ground floor and a roof garden on top. In between there will be 198 studio flats of between 20 sq metres and 31 sq metres.
Each studio will have an en-suite bathroom, desk, convenient plug sockets, wi-fi, kitchen facilities and built-in storage.
The planning application says the building will be aimed at international students, in particular, and new cladding on the frontage will complement the design of the National Health Innovation Campus.
The front of the building will have soft grey aluminium cladding and will include vertical ‘stripes’ in a reflective copper colour to complement the surrounding traditional stone buildings.
Internally, the building is also expected to include the most up-to-date design features to meet those of the WELL standard which ensures buildings are ‘healthy’ places in which to live and work.
Inside the building is said to be in a “very neglected state” and has been vandalised. Ceiling and floor tiles have been stripped out, along with sanitary ware in the bathrooms.
Public consultation into the plans ended in early March and a target date for a decision has been set for May 2 2023.