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Students flats plan set for refusal
PLANS for dozens of student flats above shops near the University of York could be turned down after their design came in for criticism.
The owners of Matmer House, in Hull Road, want to create 16 flats on the first floor of the 1960s building and 31 more on two new floors, but City of York Council planners have said the scheme would not fit in with the area.
The proposals, by Asghar Choudhury, will be debated when the authority’s planning committee meets today, and have been recommended for refusal.
The local Hull Road planning panel said it welcomes the redevelopment of Matmer House, but has objected to the flats scheme because it would make the building too large and its new look would be “incongruous”.
Ten local residents and two nearby businesses have also opposed the application, describing the design as “overpowering” and “a monstrosity” and raising concerns over issues including potential loss of privacy and light, a lack of car-parking and noise and disturbance from students.
Hull Road councillor Neil Barnes said the plans should be rejected because sufficient accommodation for University of York students will be provided at its new Heslington East campus and developers “chasing a fast buck on student housing” will see the market burst within the next decade, leaving the city with too many flats designed for students.
In his objection, Coun Barnes said: “I would urge the developers to consider a scaled-back, sensitive development which not only addresses the needs of students, but also of those requiring affordable housing.”
Bench Mark Designs, the agents for the scheme, has said there is demand for new “high-quality” student accommodation in York, which meant family homes were being turned into houses in multiple occupation and “intense student zones” were being created. The firm said Matmer House was also in need of “urgent renovation”.
In a report to the planning committee, council planner Michael Jones said the development would “significantly harm the living conditions of local residents” and “harm the character and appearance of the area”, while the applicants had not provided enough details on parking and waste disposal issues.