Portsmouth Council Approve 97-bed Student Scheme
15th Dec 2017
Plans put forward to develop a city centre office block into student accommodation look set to be given the go-ahead.
Developers are looking to convert the existing five-storey Sun Alliance House situated on St Helen's Road into 78 studio rooms.
Despite objections raised from the last business to use the site, a study by council officers has recommended the project is approved.
IT training and consultancy firm Computeraid, argued the conversion of the office block to student housing conflicts the council's ambition to create a new business district on the adjacent Kingsway, a view shared by the Regional Business Forum.
Planning documents submitted as part of the application argued businesses were now seeking more modern offices, which have left the occupancy rates at Sun Alliance House at around 25 percent.
The officers' report, which will be considered by councillors, concluded the building was identified as suitable to meet the growing demand for bespoke student accommodation driven by the expanding Swansea University and Trinity St David University.
The report added that the conversion of underutilised commercial buildings into student housing, supports Swansea Council's Unitary Development Plan, which helps guide development in the city.
The plan has therefore been recommended for approval, subject to conditions. These include that residents must be registered as students in Swansea and that the developer must contribute around £40,000 to the upgrading of pedestrian and cycle facilities around the site.
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