RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR PROPOSED FIFTEEN-STOREY STUDENT ACCOMMODATION TO BE REJECTED
Peter Hennessy, writing in the Nottingham Post on Friday 21 May 2021, reported that a petition by members of the Victoria Park Residents' Association is challenging a planned 15-storey, 692-bed student accommodation development saying the 'unprecedented social experiment' is '...not the right development for the location' and will damage their neighbourhood.
Student homes 'experiment' will change Sneinton forever, residents say
A petition has been started calling on the council to reject upcoming plans for a huge student development
A group of Sneinton residents say the "unprecedented social experiment" of adding thousands of student homes will change the area forever.
Members of Victoria Park Resident's Association are calling for the latest in a string of student accommodation plans to be rejected by Nottingham City Council.
The proposals would see a disused Royal Mail building on the corner of Bath Street turned into a 15-storey, 692-bed student development named the 'Bendingo building'. The proposals have been submitted by developers Godwin Developments.
A petition, which has nearly gained 500 signatures, is calling on the council to reject the application. Within the petition, residents say it is "unsuitable" and describe the plans as an "unprecedented social experiment".
The residents association say too many students will be placed into too small of an area, which they envisage will create problems for those who currently live there.
They are also worried the new building will overshadow nearby green spaces Victoria Park and St Mary's Rest Garden.
Roy Brentnall, 65, who lives near the planned development, said: "I used to work in the building - I started out in 1989 and I'm due to retire next month.
"People have got to have somewhere to live, haven't they? It would be nice if they built it a little lower than 15 storeys, though, as the higher the building is the more problems it creates."
"I wouldn't like to see it happen personally," said 72-year-old Fran Erring.
"Personally I don't think we need that much student accommodation. It seems there's new plans every week. I think it could be brought to better use."
Vice-chair of the Victoria Park Resident's Association Matt Anderson, 53, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, told Nottinghamshire Live: "It's not the right development for the location.
"There are currently under 500 students living in the conservation area and, because of other developments at the Gala and Exchange building, there would be 2,221 rooms for students if all of these plans go ahead.
"It will completely change the character of the area. We were invited to a consultation in September and there was no mention of a potential high rise building, nobody suggested that would be good for the area.
"The park will end up being overshadowed and it's been a bit of a lifesaver for locals, especially during lockdown. We are trying to encourage a change in the council's thinking - I think they could do a lot better."
Developers Godwin Developments argue there is a clear need for student housing in the city and the development would see a currently vacant site put to good use.
A spokesperson for Godwin Developments said: “Nottingham is world-renowned as a key UK university and education hub, with an ever-growing student population that contributes significantly to the local economy.
"As a result, the demand for high-quality student living continues to increase – and Nottingham City Council have recognised that development is only just keeping pace with the demand. Furthermore independent industry sources indicate that there even if all proposed schemes are built there will still be 21,000 students that will not benefit from dedicated student living as part of the city’s housing mix.
“Our plans for the Bendigo development will support the provision of purpose-built student accommodation where it has been designated in the Nottingham Local Plan, while also making a substantial contribution to the local economy, through investment, jobs and additional spend. Importantly, it will also free up traditional housing stock sought by local people and families.
“The scheme will also see the significant improvement of appearance and safety in the area surrounding the building – upgrading the wider townscape and supporting the ongoing regeneration of this area of the city. The proposed height is in line with the surrounding buildings and no taller than the previously approved planning application in the location.
“This is just one of the schemes we are working on across Nottingham, supporting the city’s range of housing needs. Most recently we have secured planning permission for more than 100 family homes across two sites in Bulwell.”
Meanwhile, a Nottingham City Council spokesperson said: “This is a live planning application currently being looked at by officers before a final decision is made by committee, so we can’t comment on the details of it at this stage.
“However, it’s important to be clear that all applications are considered on their merits and can’t be rejected purely on the grounds of the type of accommodation being proposed. We have clear national and local planning policies against which an officer recommendation must be judged to ensure a fair outcome for all concerned.
“Failing to follow this would almost certainly lead to legitimate appeals from the applicant, which can be costly and time-consuming for the council. Planning process rightly allows objections to be taken into account and the petition will be acknowledged as part of that.”