The Alumno student building on Dogpool was granted planning permission by the Planning Committee on the 29th of April. A Forum representative presented the concerns raised by the community and our opposition but the committee voted 8-4 in favour.
Approval was recommended by the Planning Officer and the majority of Councillors on the committee believe that:
car parking prohibition schemes can work
purpose built student accommodation will will attract students out of houses (HMOs)
there is great need/demand for more student accommodation.
The developers have indicated that they wish to involve the local community as much as possible and we will do all we can to ensure this happens.
The Planning Officer did not raise any concerns and highlighted a number of benefits:
Brownfield site which has been caused numerous issues to the community including squatting, antisocial behaviour and intravenous drug use (this was confirmed by our PCSO who reported that they had had numerous complaints about the site and WMP did not have any concerns with the development subject to conditions requiring CCTV, secure access system, lighting and landscaping.)
New and enlarged Post Office
The design is contemporary whilst making references to the architecture of the surrounding area. The scheme is considered to be of high quality in terms of its exterior design.
The public realm changes in front the building are considered to enhance the street scene and provide and attractive setting for the development.
Alumno has agreed to fund an independent parking management survey every six months for the first three years of the scheme’s operation. The survey will need to be signed off by BCC transport officers. If after three years the surveys indicate the scheme has had a detrimental impact on parking in the area, BCC will retain a £20,000 Alumno bond and use the funds to improve local parking enforcement. In addition to this, the scheme’s management team will carry out regular parking checks within a 1-mile radius. If found to have a car, a resident will receive a written warning, with a third offence resulting in termination of their contract.
Alumno have also commented that the additional benefits will be:
£460,000 Community Infrastructure Levy payment to improve local infrastructure
Brompton bike hire lockers for both students and the wider community to use
Estimates indicate the scheme’s residents will spend more than £1,000,000 every year with local businesses.