Residents react to plans for more student flats by canal in Leamington
Residents have accused a developer of spreading misleading information regarding its plans to build student housing along the canal in Old Town.
Last week, the Courier reported that Althorpe Street Developments had submitted plans to Warwick District Council to build flats with more than 250 bedrooms for students.
The developer has said that “the majority” of residents who attended a recent consultation into the £30 million scheme thought it is a “good idea”.
But campaign group South Leamington Area Residents (SoLAR) have refuted this claim.
A spokesman for the group said: “These property developers are making incredibly misleading statements.
“Are they trying to soften us up with their Fake News?
“Firstly, they make no mention of the huge numbers of people who attended their ‘consultation’ event and expressed their strong dislike of the proposals.
“What’s the point of consulting if you then ignore the responses?”
The developer has said that the scheme would regenerate the site and benefit the wider area.
It said: “Purpose built student accommodation has the added benefit of reducing negative impact on residential areas.
“The scheme is supported by the Canal Side Trust and will activate a social canal side culture for local people and visitors to the area.
“It will provide vibrant workspace facilities for new, small and growing businesses with bright, flexible space.
“Meeting rooms, adaptable accommodation for business, social and cultural events will all feed into the canal side becoming a creative hub for innovation.
“It is envisaged that the scheme will create over 50 jobs on the site.
Student accommodation has been designed to meet the requirements for national and international students with extensive onsite facilities which will be staffed 24/7.
“Being more ‘welcoming’ to students is an approach which helps to retain graduates in the area with an end benefit of supporting the towns appeal for employers.
But in repsonse, SoLAR has said: “They talk about employment opportunities, but they’ve put the businesses renting from them on very short lets so they can kick them out at a moment’s notice.
“They say this is about “regeneration” when it’s really about making money from the lucrative student market, especially overseas students.
“The last thing this part of South Leamington needs is another student mega-block.
“Leamington’s canal-side has so much potential, this is not the answer.
“If these ‘developers’ really want to regenerate the Althorpe estate and do something for the local community, it’s not too late for them to dump their student mega-block scheme and instead propose something which invests in small local employers and offers affordable housing for local people, especially young people struggling to get on the housing ladder.
“That’s something we could all really get behind.”
At the time of going to press the plans had yet to be published on the planning portal of Warwick District Council’s website.
More information about the plans can be found at www.althorpedevelopments.co.uk