Wednesday 22 May 2024
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419-bed student block where students would be ‘like battery hens’ refused permission

Plans for a student block in the centre of Beeston were slammed by councillors this week who called them “appalling” and refused to grant planning permission.

The 419-bedroom studio flats building was planned for Station Road as part of the multi-million pound Beeston Square redevelopment in the town.

The plans for the site are by applicant, Cassidy Group. It is currently being used as a council car park.

Council officers warned that if the plans were refused, the applicant could win on appeal which could leave the authority with large costs – but Broxtowe Borough Councillors unanimously refused planning permission for the site on July 27.

Six parking spaces were proposed under the application, and Patrick Cassidy, Director of Cassidy Group, said students found with a car would have their tenancies terminated.

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Previously, plans for 132 apartments on the site were approved for general use – but the plans were then altered to be for student housing.

Councillor Steve Carr (Lib Dem) said it would be a “disaster” for the centre of Beeston if the plans were approved.

He said: “What Beeston needs in that area is what we had before, which was a substantial number of properties.

“I totally oppose this development. It’s a bit like the city allowing such a unit to be put on Old Market Square. That’s what it feels like to the people of Beeston.”

Councillor Philip Owen (Con) added: “Let’s not be deluded, you cannot possibly control students bringing cars to university.

“I’ve never heard such twaddle. That housing was for Broxtowe families, not for students.

“I am disappointed with the way this site is going. This is an appalling proposal, to suggest it won’t have any impact on residents is utter nonsense.

“It is an insult to this committee and it’s an insult to the residents of Beeston.”

Councillor Tim Hallam (Lib Dem) said the students would be “like battery hens” if the plans went ahead.

He said: “I consider that this over-intense cramming into this space is of a detriment to students.

“I’ve lived in barrack blocks and they were bigger than this. We weren’t expected to live in something so sub-human in standard.

“I am in favour of student developments but this is absolutely ridiculous. You might as well be in an isolated prison cell. I think this is atrocious.”

Councillor Greg Marshall (Lab) disagreed with some of the comments and added: “It is a fantastic opportunity for us to begin putting our money where our mouths are.

“I support the principle of trying to build developments that attract car-free residents.

“I do have some concerns that it is over-intense. I think there will be an inevitable problem with car parking.”

Resident Karen Stainer said she is a close neighbour of the development and said that a “massive student development in the centre of a small town is totally unacceptable”.

She said: “This development is right in the heart of Beeston. I call upon the council to stick to its original decision.

“This is a heartfelt appeal for you to consider the detrimental effects of a student block in our town.”

Mr Cassidy added that each student would be given a tram pass for the whole duration of their stay.

He said: “Our plans improve on the previously consented scheme in a number of ways. Our scheme is greener, it will have less impact on local residents, and it will add fewer cars to the local streets.

“Our scheme will have less impact on local residents with our on site 24 hour management and supervision of our students.

“Our scheme will add fewer cars to the local streets.

“We have set out a very strong commitment to preventing students from bringing cars to university by signing tenancy agreements. This will be enforced by our management team and a system encouraging residents to report any concerns.”

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