DC Casebook: Housing Conversion - Student flats agreed despite surfeit

The conversion of a grade II listed former industrial building in a residential area of Leicester to 252 student flats has been allowed on the basis that it presents a realistic option for preserving the property.

The inspector considered that noise emanating from the building could be controlled by means of soundproofing and a management scheme. In the context of the site's location on a main road into the city centre, he opined that noise from students approaching and leaving the building would not be unreasonable.

The council was concerned that the concentration of students would affect the balance of the community and perceptions of the area. The inspector acknowledged that the proposal would result in the ward having a student population above the city average, but saw no reason why this was necessarily a problem. He also concluded that student parking would not jeopardise highway safety.

The parties accepted that the building was at risk and could best be remedied by bringing it back into use. The council contended that there was no demand for the units. A local university estates manager confirmed that saturation point had been reached and further provision could affect private providers of student accommodation. However, the inspector saw no reason why one type of landlord should be protected at the expense of another.

DCS Number 100-064-513

Inspector Jeremy Sargent; Inquiry

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