Planners reject proposal for temporary aparthotel

Sara Kirsch Sara Kirsch Uploaded 08 June 2021

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UK: A bid by Twerton Mill iQ to utilise student flats as an aparthotel has been denied by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Twerton Mill was seeking to use 80 of the 330 beds in a student block, which is typically used by students attending Bath Spa University, as an aparthotel, due to the underutilisation of the space because of impacts on education by the pandemic. The bid was also an attempt to help support the local economy.

The proposal, which was announced in December by iQ, the student accommodation company that operates the Twerton Mill property, was part of a continuation of iQ’s current program.

A spokesperson for iQ said: “Every summer, rooms at some of our sites are open to non-students and groups for short term stays to make good use of the accommodation. At a handful of sites, including Twerton Mill, we are looking to extend this programme.”

The aparthotel would have operated directly next to the student housing, a factor that ultimately contributed to the proposal’s rejection. 

Sarah Moore, ward councillor, said: “I am also concerned about the safety of the remaining students as there are no clear guidelines on how the two businesses would be separated on the site and could put them at risk.”

John Branston, a local resident, said: “Parents pay handsomely for their children to live and study in a safe environment among fellow students. How many parents would have envisaged ‘outside’ aparthotel customers of all ages to be roaming the same corridors as their children at all hours of the night?”

Parking also impacted the council’s decision to reject the proposal. The Lower Bristol Road development, which was approved in 2015, only allowed for five car parking spaces, and there was no proposal to add more spots. 

Moore said: “Parking is already a major problem on this road with students bringing cars and parking them either blocking the pavement opposite or outside the Jubilee Centre.”

The council asserted that there would need to be five times the amount of parking spaces available in its rejection of the proposal.

Another concern raised by the council would be that opening the temporary aparthotel could affect the restoration of the local hotel industry, which was negatively affected by the pandemic.

31 residents objected to this proposal, and many of them voiced concerns on issues like parking and the recovery of the local hotel industry.

Branston said that he believed that allowing the proposal would be a “significant injustice” to those who work in the local hotel industry.

Another resident, Wayne Tucker, said: “This was built as student accommodation and should stay as. If you can’t fill it, sell it as cheap resident accommodation.”

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