Student housing to aparthotel conversion gets thumbs down from Cambridge planners

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 09 October 2017


UK: Proposals to convert a Cambridge student housing block into an aparthotel have been turned down by planners.

The plans have been rejected amid claims the project's developer Student Castle "cannot be trusted" and was already welcoming aparthotel guests.

One councillor claimed "the first guests were in before even the first students" at a meeting of Cambridge City Council's planning committee this week.

An agent for the developers told the committee the ability to accommodate guests as an aparthotel would bring in another stream of revenue, something that could provide a stable income to smooth over fluctuations in the income from students.

The bid was eventually rejected, with councillors and residents raising concerns over the parking provision at the site, as well as disabled access to the building.

West Chesterton councillor Mike Sargeant: "It is likely to impose additional parking demands on nearby streets. 50 per cent of parking spaces in Corona Road could be lost. If people are going to be staying there for nearly 90 days, there is a fair chance they won't be staying just in the city centre but will be trying to access other places for work. They will probably need cars and parking spaces. Turning to the issue of student accommodation, they should be observing the need for student accommodation and there is no evidence that need is not required. The applicant cannot be trusted in any way that they will not stick to conditions. They advertised the accommodation online and the first guests were in before even the first students. When challenged, they slapped in a planning application. There's nothing to reassure residents. I would urge you to carry on rejecting this application."

Cllr Damien Tunnacliffe said councillors should avoid "demonising" aparthotels: "I think the apart-hotel in this location is bound to help the area," said Cllr Tunnacliffe. "There are pubs that would benefit. I think we should be more measured. I stayed in an apart-hotel that doubles up as student accommodation. It seems to work very smoothly. I don't think we should demonise aparthotels."

A similar strategy of converting part of a student accommodation building in to aparthotel rooms has been successfully used elsewhere in the UK.


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