iQ Student Accommodation progresses plans for student accommodation on Echo Street in Manchester


iQ Student Accommodation (iQ), owner and operator of over 3,600 student beds across 10 sites in Manchester, and over 32,000 beds in the UK is submitting revised plans to Manchester City Council for the development of around 1,220 beds of high-quality, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) on Echo Street.

As a thriving university city with over 70,000 full-time students, Manchester has an undersupply of good quality, well-located accommodation in the city centre, resulting in almost three times as many full-time students as there are purpose-built beds. The proposed scheme is in a prime location for universities in the Piccadilly area and will provide an attractive private accommodation offering.

In 2018, iQ was granted planning consent for the redevelopment of the existing student halls known as Chandos House. Following extensive review, iQ has submitted an updated proposal for the development of Echo Street, which has the potential to deliver around 1,220 beds of high-quality accommodation with a spectrum of choices for students, including lower-cost rooms. The development will positively contribute to the future growth of the city’s institutions and support Manchester’s ambitions to continue as a world-class education hub.

Following an earlier wide-ranging public consultation, Sheppard Robson, Manchester-based and award-winning architects, are revising the plans based on similar design principles. In line with the previously consented scheme, the three proposed buildings will step down from the Piccadilly side into the Whitworth Street Conservation Area towards Vimto Park, where student amenities are planned to face into, activating and increasing the vibrancy of this space. Like other iQ buildings, the Echo Street scheme will aim to create a differentiated high-quality student experience, fostering a sense of community through shared social and study spaces and a full programme of events. 

The new scheme brings forward the opportunity to improve on the proposed sustainability measures, now targeting BREEAM Excellent, including a fully renewable energy strategy. Located within walking distance of University of Manchester’s North & South Campus, Manchester Metropolitan’s All Saints Campus & Birley Fields and Manchester Piccadilly railway station, the development promotes sustainable travel choices for residents which supports the city’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2038.

Matthew Loughlin, Chief Development Officer at iQ, said:

“We are delighted to be bringing forward our updated proposal for Echo Street to provide a modern, safe, high-quality and fully purpose-built student accommodation scheme.

Echo Street is an ideal location for student accommodation, helping to address Manchester’s undersupply of student beds, supporting the city’s vision to continue to be a world-class education hub. Our proposed scheme provides a mix of accommodation types that cater for a range of needs and budgets.”

The public consultation on the proposals is set to launch on Wednesday 1 March 2023. You can visit to sign up for an alert once the consultation period is live and more information is available.