Student Housing in Brighton
LCE have recently submitted a planning application for a new 138 studio student housing development on the site of Richmond House in Brighton on behalf of landowner Matsim Properties. The proposals can be viewed on line through Brighton & Hove’s web site/planning portal. The planning application number is BH2013/02838. An exhibition of the proposals, with members of the development team on hand to answer questions, is being held in the existing Richmond House on Richmond Road on Thursday 19th September from 1.00 to 2.30 pm and 5.00 to 8.00 pm.
LCE’s proposal is the second application following a refusal to a previous scheme designed by Orbit. There were several design reasons for that refusal which LCE have taken on board in preparing the new design, with specific emphasis in mitigating against any potential noise and disturbance in the neighbouring conservation area.
The proposals also need to be seen in the context of the City’s policies on student housing which make no sense to us. At present there are some 37,000 students in the City and 5,183 purpose built rooms to accommodate them. This has resulted in the students finding houses that they can share, mainly in the residential areas along the Lewes Road corridor. The loss of family housing in these areas together with the disturbance to local residents has resulted in the Planners using their special powers to instigate Article 4 Directions restricting the future occupation in these areas by students. In national terms Brighton is one of the poorest served cities in the country with only 15% of purpose built student accommodation. The national average has varied between 22 and 25% and in some Cities such as Manchester it is over 30%. This makes it all the more surprising that in preparing the current City Plan the Local Authority are trying to restrict the provision of student accommodation to 5 sites (Varley halls, Preston Barracks, Pelham Street, Circus Street and the East Slope at Sussex University). Even if all of these sites were to be developed (and some of them have been ‘discussed’ for over 10 years) there would still be a shortfall of some 1400 spaces to bring the totals up to the national average. This seems a highly restrictive policy to us.
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