Residents rejoiced after contentious plans for a 162-bedroom student block in a residential area in Broxtowe were turned down.
Wednesday’s Broxtowe Borough Council meeting was packed with aggrieved residents who criticised the plans for the former Nottingham College campus on High Road, Chilwell.
A decision on the plans was deferred in July after residents raised concerns over noise and parking.
But there were cheers and tears from many as the plans were turned down in a narrow vote which saw six votes against planning permission and five votes for.
The decision was made during the Planning Committee meeting on September 1 – despite the plans being recommended for approval by council officers.
After concerns were raised by residents, developers offered “an additional £32,000 towards financial contributions”.
The developer also offered to increase the number of parking spaces from 15 to 25.
During the meeting, Tony Greaves, who said he was speaking on behalf of over 80 residents, said: “Our research shows this can leave local residents at war with students.
“Students do park wherever they like, blocking in residents cars.
“This is not what you will hear from planning or the applicant. You will hear empty, meaningless unenforceable words proposed to gain planning acceptance at any cost.
“No amount of legislation or words in a tenancy agreement has stopped noise and parking issues from students to date.
“We ask you not to be fooled by the applicant and the planning department.
“Reject this application leaving our residents to continue enjoying their lives and homes in this upmarket part of Beeston.”
Councillor Philip Owen (Cons) said 25 parking spaces was “woefully inadequate”.
He said: “Nothing in substance has changed since we discussed this a month or so ago.
“We are told it is acknowledged that a degree of noise and disturbance will be experienced.
“What sort of degree? What a meaningless phrase.
“Our duty is to our residents and I am more than happy to stand full square behind them.”
Councillor Richard Jackson (Cons), added: “We are going to get up to 100 cars if this goes ahead.
“It is a problem we mustn’t inflict on ourselves and our residents.
“We are creating problems if you put a large number of people who are demographically different to the population that is there.”
But councillor Greg Marshall (Lab), who said he supported the application, said: “There has been an illusion that students cause problems per se and I disagree with that.”
Councillors criticised a report prepared ahead of the meeting which said: “The benefits of the proposal are that it would provide an acceptable standard of accommodation which would reflect an acceptable standard of design and would potentially relieve pressure on residential family homes being converted into small bed houses in multiple occupancy.
“On balance, whilst it is acknowledged there will be a degree of noise and disturbance experienced and impact on traffic and local services, it is considered this is outweighed by the positives of the scheme.”
Following the meeting, Tony Greaves said: “It was a good decision, and it was the right decision.
“Some residents are literally right next door to the site. It’s awful for them.
“I am sure the developers will appeal this but we won it on parking and loss of amenities.
“Students should be pushed into the city, there isn’t a need for them here.”
Chilwell resident Dave Lovesy said: “The result is encouraging but there is still a long way to go. The developers won’t give up.”
Resident Maria Yianni added: “We don’t want that many students in an upmarket family area, full of retired people. We don’t want the noise.”
Previously, a spokesperson for ALB Group, who are behind the plans, had said the development would have “major benefits for the local community”.