AROUND 200 residents turned up to a meeting to discuss Trafford Council's plans to build a student village in Stretford.

The proposals are part of the town hall’s new masterplan for the area and fit alongside plans for the new UA92 university from the Class of 92 on Talbot Road that were unveiled last week.

The development will see the Lacy Street car park converted to provide 1,700 beds of student accommodation and create a new public realm to the empty Grade II listed Essoldo building that has been vacant since 1995.

Phase 1a will consist of around 360 beds opening for the first intake in September 2019, and a phase 1b will see a further 370 units opening in September 2020.

Stretford resident Heather Garlick has started a petition against them plans stating: "The incumbent population will completely unbalance the amazing diversity we enjoy in Stretford.

"We worry that the roads and services will be overloaded and will not be sufficiently improved to accommodate the increase in users.

"We worry that the houses in the local area will become student housing.

"But most of all we feel that the student village will destroy the tight and active community feel that Stretford currently enjoys."

The petition has so far reached over 800 signatures.

Following the meeting at Stretford Public Hall residents commented on Facebook to express their concern.

Cath Goss posted on the Stretford M32 Facebook group: "Other mass student areas in the city are horrific and I'll hold my hands up, I didn't move here with my family in order to live next to one. More rubbish, more strain on the infrastructure, more traffic, higher crime rates, insurance goes up"

Agnieszka Aggie Sheppard said: "I would call it an eyesore. I have been paying attention to blocks around me and those that are over 20-storeys high really overpower an area."

However, some people have shown their support for the scheme.

Amanda Higgins commented: "I lived in Hulme for ten years and I can honestly say that introducing student accommodation was a good thing for the area. Crime went down, house prices went up. I don't see how anyone can look down on students like they are thugs when in truth they're educating themselves to go on to get good jobs."

Councillors also supported the scheme providing changes will be made to the proposals.

Cllr Steve Adshead said: "Local Councillors, including myself are quite supportive of the principle and really like the idea, however I am concerned about the number of apartments in such a small place.

"We are also unhappy about the way these plans have been handled – they have apparently been in discussion for two years now and local councillors have been kept in the dark.

"We would have liked to have seen the scheme developed with local community involvement and by now we could have a scheme everyone agreed with.

"It doesn't seem like there has been any background work into the infrastructure in the area, such an doctors, dentists etc. and we already have a shortage of such services, this really needs addressing.

There is too much being done too soon and we fear if it is rushed it could go pear shaped, and that would be a shame.

"They are looking to start work in January which doesn't really give a lot of time for the local community to look at all of the issues involved. We feel though it is imperative that everyone in the local community gets involved with the consultation."

A spokesperson for Trafford Counsil said: “For a number of years, the Council has been lobbied for significant investment in Stretford and Old Trafford and to bring forward proposals that support existing communities, bring people into the town centre and enhance the local economy.

"The University Academy 92 (UA92) proposal, which forms the centrepiece of an ambitious and refreshed Stretford Masterplan does just that, and will add £26m per year to the local Trafford economy, helping to create jobs and build on the thriving community here in Stretford and Old Trafford.

"Our plans for the campus accommodation are to create high quality, well-designed apartments on the proposed site in Stretford, where support services can be provided and we are proposing a number of policies to better regulate the housing market in Stretford.

"The plans will open up the frontage onto the Bridgewater Canal and create a new public area while also bringing the Essoldo building – which has been unused for decades - back into beneficial use for all the community.

"Due to a confidentially agreement amongst partners in the UA92 project, we have been unable to disclose details of our plans until last week.

"The revised Stretford Refreshed Masterplan will go before Executive on 2nd October. Starting on 10th October we will be running an eight-week consultation and engagement period. This will include among other things, drop-in sessions at a number of locations around Stretford. We’re pleased the conversations are starting and are very keen to hear as many views as possible on these proposals, so would encourage people to take part in the consultation and engagement process.

"Following the consultation, a final version of the masterplan will then be considered by the Executive.”

The masterplan is due to be discussed at an executive meeting on October 2.