Student spaces approved to free up family housing

A compelling need and housing benefits outweigh impact on heritage assets and strong local objections, an inspector has decided in allowing student accommodation in a Cornish town.

The purpose-built scheme offered 190 bed-spaces. The council’s strategy to support the growth of local universities made provision for more than 1,000 purpose-built bed-spaces, now under construction, on a campus in an adjacent town and allocation of other sites in its emerging local plan. The inspector found no evidence to support the council’s argument that the appeal proposal would prejudice delivery of planned student accommodation, noting that the universities had not objected.

He gave weight to the appellant’s uncontested evidence of a significant demand for student accommodation and took account of slow delivery of the planned accommodation, compared to an anticipated early completion date on the brownfield appeal site. He decided that the scheme would provide much needed purpose-built accommodation close to the town centre. The council's five-year supply of housing land would be unaffected by development of the site, he found.

The inspector also identified the potential for purpose-built student accommodation to free up some housing for use by families, thus benefiting the local housing market. He concluded that the overall public benefits of the scheme outweighed conflict with the emerging strategy for purpose-built student accommodation and less than substantial harm to the significance of a listed hotel and a conservation area.

Inspector: Neil Pope; Hearing

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