RESIDENTS have slammed plans for an 800-bed six-storey accommodation block in Coventry set for council planning approval.
The huge development would be situated on a car park on De Montfort Way near the Cannon Park Shopping Centre.
The application by developers ES Coventry proposes the 808-bed student block along with a new multi-storey car park.
It is recommended for approval subject to conditions at a Coventry City Council planning committee meeting on Thursday (February 14).
Ward councillors and residents say the area has been ‘devastated’ by an influx of students.
Chair of the Cannon Park Residents’ Association Mike Parsons said: “First of all the residents of Cannon Park and Cannon Hill Road are seeing the community be devastated by the numbers of houses being converted to student accommodation.
“The local residents in Cannon Park are in the minority probably by a factor of two to one.
“So to impose this 800-bedroom student block on us and say it is going to mitigate the problem of HiMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) is an insult.
“The size of the accommodation block is way out of proportion with the surrounding area.
“People are so hacked off. They feel isolated, they feel as if their community has been totally destroyed.
“I am not anti-student or anti-university. We want to see the university go from strength to strength.
“But the local community is important.”
About 220 letters of objection were submitted to the council during consultation phases, with many residents saying it is too large, out of character and would have an impact on neighbouring properties.
A further petition was lodged containing 110 signatures in opposition to the plans.
Councillor Tim Sawdon: “It’s going to be a huge overpowering development.
“The church is going to be completely subsumed.
“We have a nice lot of trees but some of them will be so overshadowed and no one will be able to see them anymore.
“So we think this is totally unacceptable for a nice residential area like Cannon Park.
“The development will even overshadow Tesco.
“So it’s something that I hope all residents will be writing in to oppose because it really is something we do not want in this area.”
Senior Planner at ES Coventry Dan Di-Lieto said: “Our proposals have developed significantly from the original approach, in response to the concerns raised, including in private discussions with representatives of the Cannon Park Community Association and the adjacent St Joseph the Worker Church.
“Unlike the previously consented retail redevelopment plans for this site, we are preserving the vast majority of the Spinney and will enhance this through a major landscaping initiative.
“The building itself has been architecturally designed with an emphasis on residential forms.
“This approach positions taller elements of the building in the centre of the site, away from its neighbours, namely the Church and residents to the south, stepping down to just two storeys where closest to the surrounding occupiers, despite still having very significant separation distances.
“We recognised from the outset, that having students living within what were traditional family homes can often be incongruous and may lead to tensions with neighbours, however our proposal is simply an entirely different product.
“We are pleased to confirm that the Church, in a letter issued to Coventry council, now express support for our proposals and confirmed that their concerns have been addressed.”