Student Housing

Two contentious student accommodation planning applications have been taking up our time recently, namely the Cricket Club and the new Chivers House (Windsor Bridge Road) scheme. Both only serve to underline the fact that the issue of student housing must be grasped in detail and strategically planned for by both the universities and B&NES.  This will be a key issue to solve in the current Core Strategy review.

The Cricket Club car park development for 136 student bedrooms was recently approved by Development Management Committee AGAINST the advice of the planning authority including its senior planners and with concerns from key stakeholders including Historic England and the Environment Agency.  Serious concerns regarding flood safety and cumulative harm to the WHS and its setting were put to the councillors but they decided to ignore this advice.  The Trust has asked for the application to be called-in for review by the Secretary of State based on the fact that the decision is contrary to national and local policy.

The Trust has issued a strong objection to the current planning application for Chivers House on Windsor Bridge Road for 199 student bedrooms in two enormous blocks of 9 and 7 storeys.  This scheme proposes significant over-development of the site and in particular the heights of the blocks are harmful both to the local and citywide context. The site is within the Bath Enterprise Zone where policy states that development must enable B&NES to deliver its vision in terms of economic development, such as housing and business space; this scheme delivers neither in our view. Our detailed objection can be found here: Chivers House, Windsor Bridge

Caroline Kay says of the scheme: ‘This application goes to show that Bath’s two universities, with B&NES, must as a matter of urgency get together and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for how students are to be housed in this city, or else we are at the mercy of this kind of inappropriate development taking up valuable brownfield land. We have no problem with good quality contemporary design; our objection is to do with the excessive size and height proposed for these buildings which makes a mockery of B&NES’ own policy framework for both design, height and land use in this area. This site is within the Bath Enterprise Zone where policy states that development MUST help B&NES realise its vision to deliver housing and business space, yet this scheme delivers neither and would significantly harm the cityscape and contribute to cumulative harm to the WHS, which is given weight in national planning policy guidance and should influence Councillors’ decisions.’









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