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Businesses Forced Out by Student Accommodation

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Concerns have been raised for small businesses in Bath, with firms reportedly being squeezed out of the city by student accommodation.

Commercial property firm Bruton Knowles have given their support to small businesses, which they argue, are being forced to move out of the city by student developments.

Paul Matthews of Bruton Knowles, suggested developers were searching for available plots, which often contradict the wishes of the local population.

Mr Matthews cited an application to build student housing at Wansdyke Business Centre in Oldfield Park, which called for the eviction of a dozen small businesses to make room for further student accommodation.

He added: "This is just one example of the diminishing supply of employment space in the city. Even the local cricket club is seeking permission to add a further 145 beds at their indoor training centre."

It's hoped the local planning authority could follow other boroughs, such as those in London, where a tough stance has been put in place against developers looking to convert commercial space to homes using Permitted Development Rights.

In such cases, developers must get planning permission before converting buildings supporting start-up businesses, warehousing or light manufacturing.

Although Mr Matthews offered support to the regeneration of redundant commercial space, he suggested the council must respond to the plight of small businesses struggling to find suitable premises at affordable rates.