CHILWELL RESIDENTS HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT PROPOSAL FOR STUDENT FLATS ON VACANT NOTTINGHAM COLLEGE CAMPUS SITE
Jamie Barlow, Nottingham Post Digital News Correspondent reported on Wednesday 10 February 2021 that the proposal to build 162 new student bedrooms on the former Nottingham College campus in the High Road, Chilwell is causing concerns for local residents.
'We have got enough': Concern over student flats plan for former college site
'I could do without students'
The proposed transformation of a vacant college building into student flats has sparked concern from some locals who said 'we have got enough' in the area.
The plan to create 162 new student bedrooms within the main building at the former Nottingham College campus in High Road, Chilwell, split public opinion.
Although some people thought it was a good idea to bring a vacant site back into use, others questioned whether more student accommodation was needed.
Retired Chilwell welder Tom Hine said he opposed the project.
Explaining why, the 80-year-old said: "They have just built at the back of the Co-op all those flats, they are for students.
"I think we have got enough in Beeston. That has not been built that long. Family housing is better.
"Flatten it and build a nice little estate on it, that's what I would rather happen.
"I'm 80, I could do without students."
Retired Chilwell psychiatrist Sheila Birchall, 66, said: "My concern would be that there's not enough affordable housing in the area.
"I'm not sure how much the other new developments [in the area] have facilitated this, that should be our priority."
Carole Ward, 67, a retired auxiliary nurse, of Attenborough, said: "There's an awful lot of student accommodation and a lot of private lets as well, students perhaps live in those, apart from those that are already in official student accommodation.
"It's better than it being not used at all."
The site has been sold to local developers ALB Group for an undisclosed sum and plans have been submitted to Broxtowe Borough Council.
Some buildings are proposed for demolition and further applications expected to be submitted in the future.
The developers have hinted a number of houses could potentially be built on the site.
A 70-year-old man, a retired dental technician of Farm Road, Beeston, who asked not to be named, explained he once studied at the college.
He said: "My wife and I have just come back from living in Germany, prior to that we were living in the same house.
"I used to go on courses here in the evening, this is what Beeston needs, somewhere to go on courses for people that are working all day but where you can go in the evening.
"Somewhere for elderly people to go in the evening after work to learn different projects. I used to work and then in the evenings I would go here and learn German, it was great.
"For many years it has been empty but it's a lovely building.
"It's a college, it's for students - I don't object to it [the student accommodation]. I think it should be used also for people in the evenings."
A 54-year-old teaching assistant from Chilwell, who asked not to be named, said it was important infrastructure was in place to support the "additional population".
She said: "To me, it makes sense to use the building, I would say to use it for whatever the greatest need is for.
"They have obviously built lots of new houses across the road - so I am guessing there's probably more need for family accommodation. That is a pure guess, I don't want to be controversial about it."
Arran Bailey, managing director at ALB, said: "Creating a purpose-built student development, we hope we can alleviate some of the concerns residents may have had about HMOs and student properties and have those houses returned into family homes available for the wider community.
"The development is an ideal location with the tram stop on the doorstep and a short commute to both Nottingham and Trent universities.
"We think it will be a fantastic addition to Beeston which should hopefully bring more trade to the local shops and eateries and hopefully boost the nighttime economy."
David Hargreaves, director at the property consultancy firm FHP, said: "We all know the great benefits that students bring to the Nottingham economy whilst they are studying.
"But what is forgotten is how many graduates make Nottingham their home after university, myself included.
"This retention rate leads to an enhanced local labour market for employers, whilst many may go on to start their own businesses and create jobs.
"A lot of the social issues and 'bad press' that students attract are generated in areas with a high concentration of HMOs, such as Lenton, and what is needed are policies to encourage more second and third years into purpose-built student accommodation and away from HMOs.
"The purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector provides higher levels of security for the students, and an opportunity to provide a safe and secure and monitored environment, thus reducing disturbance to local residents."
Nottingham College was formed after a merger between Central College Nottingham and New College Nottingham.
It is now one of the largest colleges in the UK with over 40,000 students across all its sites.