Unicorn Hall

Unicorn Hall development is ‘the next piece in the jigsaw’ for the regeneration of the wider area

The Unicorn pub, which closed to the public in 2017, will see the next chapter of this historic building come to life after planning permission was granted this week [3rd March]. Designed by David Cox Architects, approval for three-five storey blocks, named Unicorn Hall, will see 121 serviced apartments created on behalf of developer HVM North Ltd. The Grade II Listed pub building’s frontage will remain as the prominent feature to the development and will be sensitively converted into quality residential units.

Sat adjacent to the recently developed Canterbury Hall student living accommodation, a previous scheme designed by David Cox Architects, the site sits on the intersection of North Road with Aqueduct Street and St George’s Road and has been described as ‘the next piece in the jigsaw’ for the regeneration of the wider area. The developer’s ambition is to develop this site as a key gateway into the City.

All units are intended for ‘short-term’ rental, with council officers recommending a maximum time limit for occupancy of 90 days a year.

In the remodelled pub, friendly open spaces have been created for groups to meet up socially, alongside private quiet rooms for business meetings. The amenities provided under the service apartments aim to provide everything to create a home from home experience for a short to medium length stay.

David Cox, director at David Cox Architects stated, “Retaining the iconic pub building on the active street frontage, and sensitively designing new accommodation behind, has allowed us to create a really interesting form and façade treatment.

“We were also mindful to maximise social space within the development. Albeit the accommodation is short-term let, by incorporating a landscaped courtyard, internal communal spaces and a roof-terrace, we are keen for visiting professionals to interact, relax and thoroughly enjoy the period of time they spend in Unicorn Hall, providing a place to live and work in a stimulating environment, shared with people from wide-ranging backgrounds and all services included.”

The design has developed somewhat since initial concept and subsequent pre-application advice, and the final revisions have resulted in committee member Susan Whittam describing the proposal as “a lovely scheme.”

Council officers gave the proposal the green light, subject to conditions including noise mitigation measures and an archaeological survey prior to construction work commencing.

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