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Residents' last ditch bid to keep out students
5:00pm Friday 21st September 2012 in Latest
RESIDENTS are preparing to make a last-ditch plea to councillors to keep restrictive conditions on a contentious development of student bedrooms.
The block of around 40 study bedrooms in Malmesbury Park Road was originally granted planning permission on the proviso the rooms could only be occupied by foreign students from the Kings School of English.
This restriction went some way to easing residents’ concerns that the development of small bedrooms with shared facilities would either become a “doss house” or an unwieldy university student block. But members of the town’s planning board are now being recommended to remove the reference to foreign students from Kings School of English, meaning it could accommodate students of any kind.
The planning report, which will be considered on Monday, states: “Student accommodation falls within the same use class regardless of the nationality of the students occupying the development.
“The council must consider whether it can reasonably distinguish between the occupation of the site by foreign and non-foreign students.”
But Queens Park councillor Carol Ainge said the distinction meant a great deal to residents: “If this is granted there will be repercussions for local residents for years to come,” she said.
“We never wanted this development in the first place but we were assured that it would only be used by students from one particular language school, who didn’t need very much living space or communal facilities but who simply needed somewhere to study.
“Having 40-odd university students in the middle of a residential area is a very different prospect. The developers knew these conditions were in place when they started work, it’s not fair to argue about it now when the development is almost finished.”
The application has been made by Malmesbury Estates, who are represented by Ken Parke planning consultants. Mr Parke has previously said that the removal of the conditions is “purely academic” and would not change the nature of the proposals.