Planners have given permission for 189 student flats to be built on the site of a shop and derelict pub in Brighton.
The proposed building – up to nine storeys high – would be on the site of the Lectern pub, a terrace of three houses and a Costcutter convenience store in Pelham Terrace, Lewes Road.
But it would be opposite the Pavilion Retail Park where supermarket chain Aldi intends to open a branch.
And it neighbours the Brighton University scheme just to the north on the Preston Barracks site where almost 1,200 student flats will be built in eight tall blocks along with a research lab.
The latest scheme was approved by members of Brighton and Hove City Council this afternoon (Wednesday 13 December) despite the reservations of some councillors.
The council’s Planning Committee heard and set out a number of concerns during a debate at Hove Town Hall.
A report noted 23 letters of objection, some complaining about the high proportion of students in the Lewes Road area and calling for more family homes and a better mix.
The report summed up one aspect of the objectors’ views as: “The Coombe Road area is losing its identity and turning into a campus.”
Some felt the proposed building was too tall, too imposing and had a mediocre design, with neighbours worried about overshadowing, overlooking and the prospect of noise disturbance.
They were also worried about more pressure on local parking spaces.
The proposed building includes five penthouse flats in addition to the 189 student flats. And a report to councillors said that 12 of the student flats would be wheelchair accessible.
The block is in a designated “tall building corridor” and an area that the council has been keen to develop.
The scheme attracted two letters of support, according to the report to councillors, with 59 more letters of support – standard letters – coming in late through the developer, the Planning Committee was told.
They emphasised the need for more purpose-built student flats to ease the pressure on the stock of family homes in the area.
The report to councillors also highlighted concerns about the effect of the scheme on bats although a survey found little activity. The only species recorded was the common pipistrelle.
Councillor Leo Littman objected to the loss of mature trees from the pub garden and questioned whether measures to “green” the scheme would genuinely make up for that.
Planning officer Jonathan Puplett said that “greening” measures would not necessarily provide like-for-like mitigation but would provide some benefits.
The developer, a London company called CKC Properties, would be expected to pay the council about £370,000 in “developer contributions”.
The money would go towards the cost of maintaining local parks and open spaces, sports provision, improving transport infrastructure and supporting jobs.
The report to councillors said: “The proposed development would provide 189 student studios which represent a substantial contribution towards the need for purpose-built student housing in the city.
“The site is ideally located for such development, being in close proximity to university teaching accommodation, on a main road.”
Lewes Road is also classed by the council as a “sustainable transport corridor”.
The scheme includes cycle parking and a community hub, which is expected to house a café and meeting space.
The report to councillors said: “The proposed building is considered to represent a high-quality design which would have a positive impact on the Lewes Road street scene.”
It acknowledged the loss of the pub, garden and trees but said that on balance the benefits of the scheme outweighed what would be lost.
The report added: “The proposed building is of a considerable scale and would have an adverse impact on the amenity of some neighbouring occupiers due to a loss of daylight to a number of windows although these impacts have been fully assessed and it is considered that the loss of daylight would only be at a harmful level in a small number of cases.
“Overall, while the scheme would cause harm in some respects, these concerns have been fully assessed.
“Overall, it is considered that the scheme would deliver substantial benefits and that the concerns identified do not warrant refusal in this case.
Labour councillors Clare Moonan and Tracey Hill were concerned that the rents appeared to be targeting wealthier overseas students.
But, Councillor Hill said, “as a city we are short of purpose-built student housing.”
The scheme might not reduce the number of shared houses – known as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) – but future demand may be lessened which was important.
Conservative councillor Joe Miller and Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty urged a “watertight” agreement to secure community use, not least so that local groups were not priced out.
The Planning Committee voted 11 to 1 in favour of the scheme, with only Councillor Littman, a Green, opposed.
I thought Students were poor how will they afford the rent on a flat? Shared accommodation is too expensive as it is or are they being built exclusively for overseas students?
Lots of poor people rent! Renting is not for the rich is it!!
I hope there are parking facilities included in the planning. Parking is causing major problems in all student areas .
I attended the meeting. There is no on site parking in the plans. There is also no disabled parking outlined in the plans. They expect students living there to not have cars. Seriously. They’re writing that into the rental agreement. Which is all good until they are not filling up the rooms as they’d like to, then that ‘clause’ goes out the window.
…also, students and families do not integrate well – best kept apart!
Don’t integrate well have you heard yourself. Much more important things to consider like the mayhem it will cause on Lewes Rd. Open your mind Leo life is too sort!!
“Overall, while the scheme would cause harm in some respects, these concerns have been fully assessed.
In other words we know that this is going to impact some people in a really negative way but we don’t give a s?&t… typical council crap!
i suggested to deal with this in a contract: 20 percent to students in difficulties. It is not a planning issue, that is the prob.
£370000 in developer fees. All they needed to hear, plus the usual back handers.
Frank le Duc it is student rooms with a few flats.
Looks like a prison block. Total out of scale with it’s surroundings.
What a joke what about affordable housing for people who really need it all I ever see is student blocks being built student this student that Brighton used to be full of family’s not any more it’s a real shame
The more purpose built student flats that are built the less homes and bigger flats the students will take up. This will free up homes for families instead of house shares.
It’s easier to build a load of student flats than regular homes for various reasons. Including planning permission and funding.
The more student flats that are built the cheaper prices should be city wide. Supply and demand. Things are often a bit more complex than they seem on face value. The thing you oppose is a solution to your issue.
not being funny but affordable housing and family houses… its Lewes road full of fumes no self respecting parent would live on that stretch. A good use for the site, keeps the students out of actual family houses.
Really is about time they sorted that horrid run down part of the city out.
Just want to make this clear. I attended the meeting, read through all their proposal beforehand.
1) No parking on site. They expect all student renters to not bring a vehicle to the town. Apparently a clause they are adding into the rental agreement. But all a student has to do is lie, then apply for a parking permit in one of the neighbouring streets. Parking will undoubtedly become an issue. Furthermore, there is no disabled parking bays outlined in the plans. Their proposal is that any disabled resident of these flats or rooms park up the road, in public disabled parking bays, if required.
2) The aim is to attract more students to the city. But the rental prices for students, of these student rooms will be on the higher end of student rental accommodation. I’m at university of Brighton currently. So many students are already having trouble keeping up with high rental prices. This may have an adverse effect.
3) Residential housing on the top floor. But only 5 flats, mind. Fairly certain no family will want to live in a block full of students, but then again, needs must. Expect these residential flats to be on the higher price ranges too, as another selling point to families wanting to be in close proximity to universities for their kids.
4) The arboricultural officer did not recommend the plans due to the loss of trees from the proposed site. The air quality officer did not recommend the plans either, as was not satisfied the proposal met regulation. Yet because of Section 106 being a lovely term to cover up what is essentially a bribe of £370,000 to the council, with nothing more than a suggestion that some of that money be used to plant a couple more trees in the nearby Saunders Park, you have to question whether the councillors at the meeting even care for recommendations of officials they have asked to provide insight. Most councillors at the meeting agreed that arboricultural needs had not been satisfied, or improvements to plans to help improve air quality had been addressed. Yet still gave the go ahead.
6) the community hub listed in the plans – many thought would be some form of viable community centre. It’s going to be a cafe. With a few side rooms, that you can hire, between £10-£30 per hour. And the community hub is only listed to be open between 9am-5pm, mon-fri. No weekends. You know, when more of the community will be about…
7) Jonathan Puplett was asked where the lifts were in the plans. It took him a good few minutes of looking, only to end up hazarding a guess at where they should be. It’s a 9 storey building. And they are unsure if there will be lift access.
There is probably more I had noted down, but I’m away from my notes. This is what I felt wasn’t being said here.
this is all about ripping the students off, making them live in there expensive accommodation to make more money off them, what about the local housing at rely on the students
Why can’t they build something that actually looks nice lol too tall, ugly bad design and pokes out. Also the pollution on that road is horrible. I wouldn’t wanna live there as a student but it’s understandable they need more accommodation near by. If they are going to build something do it properly. Install air filters or something. It’s pretty disgusting around that stretch.