A PROPOSAL for a new 19-storey student accommodation block on a disused basement car park in Coventry city centre will go before the council’s planning committee tomorrow (Thursday March 4).
The 423-bed halls of residence on land at the corner of Queen’s Road, York Street and the Butts in Earlsdon, near to the Ramada Hotel has been recommended for approval by officers. The site was formerly part of the multi-storey car park.
The development will comprise of four to six bedroom cluster units, one-bedroom studio flats, communal areas, study spaces, laundry facilities, general recreational areas, a courtyard garden, cinema room, a sky lounge with roof terrace including private dining rooms, plus 140 cycle spaces.
Thirteen letters of objection have been received with concerns ranging from the development being too large and out of proportion with the surrounding area to claims it will have an ‘overbearing’ impact on neighbouring properties and cause noise disturbance.
Fears were also expressed over a loss of car parking and the exacerbation of street parking nearby.
Vincent Hammersley, chair of city heritage campaign group The Coventry Society, questioned whether, given the Covid impact, there was a need for more student accommodation.
“This in the environment where it has been reported that developers have applied for a change of use for an existing student accommodation block due to lack of take up, and other landlords have also applied for change of use for the same reason in the most recently published planning list.
“There is no antipathy towards students in this city but due to a complete lack of transparency and communication by Coventry University with the people of Coventry we have been given no credible information on how much accommodation is required for the future, or even the present.
“Do they know more than anyone else how Covid is going to affect the future plans?”
He added there were recent reports about recruitment for home students being down, a shortfall in finances and staff redundancies.
The Local Plan stated purpose-built student accommodation would encouraged if directly accessible from university, played a part in the regeneration of an area, would not harm the amenities of nearby properties and enhance the character of an area.
Planners say the proposed site is close to the city centre and Coventry University campus with close bus and train links to the University of Warwick campus.
Coventry City Council officers said the proposed development was acceptable in principle and would not result in any significant impact on neighbour amenity, highway safety, ecology or infrastructure, subject to a number of conditions and contributions.
It added the application complied with all Local Plan policies and ‘introduced a high-quality building in this prominent location’, ‘designed to respect, preserve and enhance the site and surrounding area’.