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Leamington Student Accommodation Plans Rejected

Posted by Calum Martin in

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Councillors have unanimously rejected plans for a new purpose-built student accommodation scheme in Leamington.

The plans were unanimously rejected by Warwick District Council's planning committee, despite being recommended for approval.

The proposal involved demolishing existing buildings in Althorpe Street and constructing a mixed-use scheme with commercial floorspace and purpose-built student accommodation.

The opposition to the plan was strong, with Leamington Town Council, South Leamington Area Residents, the Conservation Area Forum, and even Warwick District Council's own councillors speaking out against it. The rejection of the proposal followed a protest on the steps of Leamington Town Hall, and Warwick and Leamington MP, Matt Western, also submitted his formal objections.

The main concerns raised were that there was already sufficient student accommodation in the town and that local businesses on the site would be impacted.

Three buildings were planned for construction each up to six storeys in height. This would have provided 328 student beds made up of 230 self-contained studios and 18 cluster flats.

The current Althorpe Street site consists of various trade counters, workshops, and industrial buildings, and is designated as a Protected Town Centre Employment Area in the Local Plan. The plan had promised to relocate the businesses currently operating on the site.

Leamington Town councillor, Ruggy Singh, commented at the meeting: "If this is approved it will literally rip the heart out of south Leamington. It is out of keeping with the surrounding properties in terms of height and scale."

Judith Swinson, who spoke on behalf of the businesses on site, recommended the committee throw out the application, stating: "Having overcome the pandemic we are back on track which is a real indication of our resilience and ongoing viability. This development proposes to demolish nine B class premises which will lead to 50 immediate job losses of local skilled people."

A spokesperson for the applicant commented that the scheme would regenerate the area and remove "outdated industrial buildings that are inconsistent with the council's creative quarter vision."

According to planning officers, there was no request from Warwick University for additional accommodation in the town, and this was a private enterprise.

The proposal attracted significant opposition, with 177 letters of objection from local residents and only three letters of support.