27 August 2015

New student halls get planning permission

Planning permission has been approved for a 51-room hall of residence for students near the Vogue Gyratory in Brighton.

The permission, granted by the council’s planning committee last night (August 26) allows a three-to-four storey building on the current site of a car wash adjacent to the bottom of Gladstone Place. 

The application comes from a private student housing company and the land is privately owned.  It is not a council development.

An officers’ report for the committee said the application accords with planning policy for the area.  This seeks to improve higher education provision and increase the supply of purpose-built student accommodation.  Such sites need to have good sustainable transport links to existing university teaching buildings.

As part of an agreement with planning officers, the developers are required to contribute £62,000 to improve recreation facilities locally, plus nearly £12,000 to help improve local sustainable transport.

A planning condition means developers must sign an agreement with an existing educational establishment to take its students.  A management plan, controlling aspects such as noise and behaviour will also have to be agreed with the council.

Planning committee chair Cllr Julie Cattell said:  “The council is well aware of concerns over the impact of students.  There is strong demand for student homes because education is one of our major industries.  So students will either live in halls or they will live in houses.

“The policy is to encourage development of purpose-built accommodation in suitable areas – one of which is named in the draft city plan as the Lewes Road corridor. 

“They are also actively managed in a way which shared houses are not, helping reduce potential problems locally.”

The council has since 2013 had special planning powers in five council wards preventing new shared homes – including those used students - being set up where many already exist.  It means new shared homes cannot be established where more than 10 per cent of properties within 50 metres of the application address are already shared.  

All shared homes also need a council licence, regardless how long ago they were set up.