London student building set for aparthotel switch

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 28 December 2020

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UK: The iQ Bankside student accommodation in Ewer Street could operate half of its units as an aparthotel in the first half of 2021.

The building’s owners, a Luxembourg-based entity which is ultimately controlled by private equity giant Blackstone, have applied to Southwark Council for change-of-use planning.

"The proposals are linked to the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on student numbers attending university, and the corresponding underutilisation of bed spaces at the property," said Helen Rodger of planning consultancy Quod in a letter to Southwark Council officers.

The building already has planning permission to provide visitor accommodation to the public during the summer months between university terms, but iQ wants to be able to offer some of its rooms on an aparthotel basis at the Ewer Street property until May 2021.

iQ Bankside has 150 studio units of student accommodation, and up to 80 of these rooms could be made available to the public if the application is approved.

In its submissions to the council on behalf of iQ, Quod claims that "the proposals will benefit existing residents by increasing the prospect of having 'neighbours' and reducing the mental health implications of isolation; take advantage of an available resource of high quality sustainably located accommodation; and encourage economic recovery in the local area by supporting the visitor experience as restrictions on movement are slowly eased".

 

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