11th Aug, 2020

Plans to build student block on site of Coventry care home sparks anger

Les Reid 19th Mar, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

MORE student housing is being planned for Coventry – this time at the site of a recently axed council care home for the elderly.

Developers want to build 200-bed student accommodation at the site of the recently closed Aylesford Intermediate Care Centre building in Aylesford Street, Hillfields, which would be demolished.

A planning application has been lodged with Coventry City Council for a 209-bed three, four and five-storey block and parking.

A public consultation period ends on March 24.

It follows wide-ranging plans to develop student housing in the city centre and car parks – including nearby Cox Street car park and the car park serving Belgrade Plaza, which would also house new student accommodation.

Coventry City Council’s Labour leaders see the growth of the city’s two universities as bringing vibrancy and income, while helping boost the city’s population to above 400,000 by the 2030s to make Coventry a “top ten city”.

But Labour councillors for the St Michael’s ward, which includes Hillfields, say they have been contacted by unhappy residents.

Councillor Naeem Akhtar, who organised a meeting with concerned local people, said: “It was a shock when I first heard of the plans.

“I have no specific objection to purpose-built student blocks providing good, safe and affordable rooms for young people. However, to build one right in the middle of an estate which will overlook and overpower residents’ properties is unacceptable.

“On top of that, it is quite a distance away from the university so I’m not really sure just how viable the plan is.

“Residents have presented me with a petition which I will take to the council. I will also contact the police and see what they have to say. They deal with an awful lot of problems in the area and the last thing we should be doing is adding to that.”

Local resident Mrs Shanley, who lives in Adderley Street next to the proposed development said: “I am very upset with this plan. If this goes ahead, I will be looking directly at a brick wall.

“This part of Hillfields is a little cul-de-sac and this will totally overpower us. We will have over 200 young people right on our doorstep doing the things that young people do.

“It is far too many for the area to cope with. I am also worried about just what and who will be attracted to the area to prey on the youngsters.”

Coun David Welsh added: “Residents are concerned that whilst you can’t point to all young people causing problems with noise, parties and general anti-social behaviour, it is an inevitable consequence of such a building situated in close proximity to a settled community estate.

“On top of that, it will be the coming and going at all hours, the extra cars and the worry that this development will attract unwelcome attention.”

St Michael’s councillor Jim O’Boyle said: “It is worth saying I have supported far many more of these types of schemes than I have opposed. I’ve opposed them when they are in the wrong location because of the real impact they will have on the locale.

“It should be noted there are bungalows for our older residents right next door to the site.”

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