Four major student developments in the heart of the city – with a combined total of nearly 2,000 beds – have been given planning permission by Nottingham City Council.
Councillors sitting at the local authority’s planning committee met on Wednesday, September 22, to accept the applications despite some concerns from Nottingham’s Civic Society.
The first application passed was an eight-storey student housing development opposite Pryzm nightclub.
Developers will demolish existing offices in King Edward Street, Glasshouse Street and Kent Street, known as King Edward Court, to build the purpose-built accommodation block including 552 student bedrooms.
The second phase of redevelopment would be the demolition of an existing office building onto Huntingdon Street.
Residential apartments of up to eight storeys with ground floor offices and retail would be built, made up of 89 bed spaces.
Nottingham Civic Society issued a strong objection to the development, citing the height of the buildings as a problem.
It warned that passing this application showed “cherished views of the city centre’s civic landmarks are no longer worth safeguarding”.
Cllr Michael Edwards (Lab), chair of the planning committee, asked what measures were being made to protect residents in the area from noise and anti-social behaviour.
He said: “I live in the city centre, and I know what it can be like when pubs close, and I know the state it can get into.”
Planning officers said 24-hour security will be at the site to ensure these matters are addressed.
The next application was to build a 354-bed student development on Lower Parliament Street on the former Housing Aid offices, which have been demolished.
There would also be a public car park built consisting of 48 spaces. Nottingham Civic Society were against the height of the 12-storey building.
Cllr Edwards (Lab) said the design of one of the buildings looked like “toy town” and described it as “simplistic and too crude”.
Cllr Kevin Clarke (Independent) added: “I know what I like, and I don’t like, and it is just another same old building we have got in the city. It does nothing for me and no architectural interest.”
Planners’ officers at the city council said images “never capture what gets built” and asked councillors to trust them. It was passed.
Then, the council granted planning permission for the demolition of buildings currently occupied by Halfords Auto Centre and Archer Accident Group in Huntingdon Street.
The art deco façade, which is locally listed, would remain and form part of the design. The development would be a mix of five to seven storeys high providing 294 student bedrooms.
Councillors liked the art deco-inspired design which kept with the remaining frontage.
The final application was for 702 student flats in Manvers Street as part of the Island Quarter development including a courtyard and pedestrianised street.
The tallest part of the development would be 12 storeys high. Nottingham Civic Society argued it would result in the buildings having an “overbearing effect on the public space.”
Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis (Lab) said he was worried the application had been “rushed”, failing to look at the effect on Manvers Street junction or provide landscape designs.
Cllr Clarke added: “This has been derelict land – and an eyesore for the last 40 years. I am quite ready to go along with officers’ guidance today.”
Councillors also discussed an application which has already been approved for 270 student beds in Triumph Road in Lenton.
The application was to accept landscape and appearance.
Cllr David Trimble, ward councillor for Lenton, argued in a report prepared for the planning committee the area was “already at crisis point” when it came to student numbers.
He added: “We spend a great deal of time trying to build balanced communities in Nottingham with a diverse and wide range of people and communities getting on well together. And here we are yet again with a complete disregard for this.
“Noisy parties are a massive problem. The local primary held a survey and all the children in that area were deprived of sleep, including during exam time. That’s not acceptable.”
The application was passed.