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49-Bed PBSA Approved 30 Minutes from Bristol Campus

Posted by Aisling Murphy

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Plans were submitted to Bristol City Council in February 2022 proposing the construction of a student accommodation block, totalling 49-beds.

The site is currently home to car dealership, Paramount Cars, which was founded in 1976. According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the owner of the dealership recently retired.

The site is located at 155-165 West Street in Bedminster, meaning the accommodation would be located more than 30 minutes walking distance from the closest university campus.

Plans consist of: 4 6-bed en-suite clusters, 1 5-bed en-suite cluster, 2 4-bed en-suite clusters and 12 studio beds

Locals raised objections to the proposal, citing: lack of parking facilities, noise concerns, existing high demand in the area for housing stock for professional and family dwellings, and far distances to campuses.

Despite the objections and commute distance, councillors have now approved the plans.

Councillors were split on the decision, with some asking developers to instead focus on building more family homes in the area. Supporting councillors stated that it was good to "disperse student accommodation across the city".

In regards to location, the plans point to the convenient access the site would offer to local amenities such as the shops located on West Street, North Street and East Street. The plans state that the city centre is located a 25-30 minute walk, a 10 minute cycle, or 10 minutes on the bus.

The site is also well-located for public transport, in particular, Parson Street station is 5 minutes' walk away which serves Temple Meads (~6 minute journey), and multiple bus services run along the road and offer regular links to the city centre (~10 minutes journey).

The plans also state that there is an existing market for students in the area as there are already students living nearby in both HMOs and PBSA properties. They state that whilst the area is not as popular (and highly concentrated) as central, "In short, there is demand and it will not struggle to secure tenants."

Additionally, developers state that they are taking steps to "minimise the risk of disturbance to nearby residents. This will include staff presence onsite and inserting a clause in students' tenancy agreements requiring that they do not bring a car to site while resident in the accommodation. "

Councillor Tom Hathway said: "There's clearly a problem with endless university expansion and it tickles me when developers come to us and say 'we're building student accommodation to help with the housing crisis'.

"The housing crisis we've got is that there aren't enough family and affordable homes."

Conversely, Councillor Ed Plowden said: "There's clear evidence that a lack of student accommodation can affect housing availability across the city, so this is therefore justified.

"It's good that we're not having an over-concentration of student accommodation in certain areas, and dispersing it across the city is quite a good thing."

Councillor Richard Eddy, chair of the committee, previously expressed concerns about student accommodation located so far out of the city, however he stated that he was now "more mollified" due to the extra information provided by the developers.