Frome House is a 20th century building, constituted of a series of vacant offices across the upper floors, and an active tyre repair business across the ground floor and forecourt. Planning proposals for the change of use and extension of the building to provide speculative student accommodation across the upper floors were allowed at appeal in early 2023.
2022/2023 – Revised Proposals for Refurbishment of Existing Building to Provide Student Accommodation
In early 2022, revised application 22/01299/FUL proposed a reduced scheme of 25 student bedspaces. The previously proposed roof extension was omitted and as such the building’s external appearance would be largely unchanged by the proposals. However, BPT maintained an in-principle objection to the provision of student accommodation on the site.
Read our response to the 2022 planning application here.
This application was subsequently referred back to Planning Committee in June, with BPT continuing to speak against the development. Councillors continued to vote against the scheme and pressed on the issue of oversupply of student housing without evidence of demand, overturning the officer’s recommendation. Read the final decision notice here.
As of September 2022, applications 21/04147/FUL & 22/01299/FUL were referred to appeal. In April 2023, the Inspector decided to allow both appeals on grounds of insufficient evidence that the proposals would result in harmful impact
upon housing mix and need, or harm to neighbouring residents. In the case of application 21/04147/FUL, the Inspector considered that the proposed re-design and extension of the building would be acceptable given the mix of building heights and types in the area.
The decision notice for both appeals is available here.
2021/2022 – Planning Application for Redevelopment of Existing Tyre Repair Centre to Mixed Use Student Accommodation & Business Premises
Application 21/04147/FUL came forward for the refurbishment of Frome House on Lower Bristol Road to convert and extend the upper floors to provide 66 student bedspaces. The ground floor, in existing use as a tyre repair centre, would be retained as part of proposals.
BPT had concerns with this development, particularly in the wider context of the sharp increase in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) schemes coming forward on the southern side of the city. We highlighted a continued lack in justifiable demand for student accommodation in this area and noted that there was already a high concentration of student accommodation and HMOs in the Oldfield Park/Twerton area. We also refuted justification for the proposed height of development and the incongruous use of a faux Georgian profile.
Read our response to the 2021 planning application here.
The application was referred to Planning Committee in February 2022 with a recommendation to permit from the case officer. BPT made the following statement to the committee against the scheme.
Councillors indicated ongoing concerns with the increasing, unbalanced provision of student accommodation in this area and considered that the scheme would result in an unacceptable housing mix. The proposed height, massing and architectural style of development was felt to be unacceptable and would result in harm to multiple listed buildings and the outstanding universal values of the wider World Heritage Site. Councillors therefore voted to refuse the planning application on these grounds.