Traders in Old Town have welcomed plans for a new £13 million student housing development according to a survey commissioned by the developer behind the project.
Alumno Developments’ purpose-built student housing for about 200 residents at the former BT site off Althorpe Street and Clemens Street will bring in around £1 million yearly spending power from student residents according to the report by Jeremy Leach Research.
The positive impact on businesses has also been demonstrated through an additional survey of 25 businesses on High Street, Clemens Street and Brunswick Street which found agreed the development will help the local economy.
David Campbell, managing director of Alumno, said: “We want to make a major investment in Leamington and work with the community to benefit local people and businesses. This research demonstrates the opportunity we have to boost the economy by regenerating a derelict site, creating jobs and long-term links with the local community.
“Our purpose-built student accommodation will benefit from a full time on site management team. In addition, we are proposing to transform the waterside by enlarging the towpath, creating a new public garden and artwork to encourage more people to walk by the Grand Union Canal.”
Jeremy Leach Research’s economic report highlighted that Warwick University estimates the total economic impact of its staff and students in Leamington is £84 million a year, as stated in a previous report.
Gurdeep Dhillon of Simply Fresh in Brunswick Street - who took part in the survey - said: “When the students are here then trade is very good.”
“We find the students are fine around here and well behaved.”
Tarlochan Singh Toor of Costcutter on the corner of the High Street and Church Street, said: “I think it will really help the whole town.”
“At the moment, the site is an eyesore that attracts drug users and anti-social behaviour.
“It’s much better to have it put to good use that will benefit the local economy.”
But owners of established businesses at the nearby Althorpe Street industrial estate fear they could be squeezed out by the growing number of student flats in the area.
They are concerned about possible parking and traffic problems and about the growing number of business premises being bought to make way for accommodation.