View guides

Councillor Calls for a Halt to PBSA Development

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Coventry city's opposition leader has argued that plans for additional purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) should be put on hold amid concerns that coronavirus has led to a reduction in demand.

Coventry has witnessed an explosion in PBSA with thousands of new beds added to the city in recent years. However, a number of operators have now submitted applications to temporarily change the use of buildings, citing reduced student demand.

One of the more recent applications includes 33 Parkside, with the operator Prestige Student Living looking to extend permission to let half of its rooms to non-students from August 21 to next year.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding demand, the city has some very large developments in the pipeline, including a 19-storey scheme in York Street.

Conservative opposition leader Councillor Gary Ridley has called for a pause on student blocks to assess Covid's impact longer-term.

He said: "Although we are living through exceptional circumstances, it begs the question have we got a surplus of student accommodation?

A sensible approach now would be to hit the pause button and undertake a review of student need as part of a full housing-needs assessment. Instead of protecting family homes, this failing Labour administration has allowed developers to convert more and more family homes into student accommodation. At the same time, they've approved more and more purpose-built student developments."