DEVELOPERS could get the go-ahead this week to build a 326-bedroom block of student flats in the centre of York.
City of York Council’s planning committee will decide on Thursday whether to approve proposals by Maple Grove Developments for the scheme in Hallfield Road, which was once a Yorkshire Water depot, and which stands next to Morrisons supermarket.
Planning officials have said the development, a joint venture with Leeds property firm Yorvale on a site which is part-owned by the council, should be allowed.
It would see two four-storey blocks around a courtyard. The aim would be to start the work in the spring and complete the flats in time for the start of the 2015/2016 university year.
The Heworth planning panel has opposed the plans, saying “employment land” in the Layerthorpe area had already been lost for housing and the student flats would be “featureless” and an eyesore.
Other residents have claimed the buildings would be too tall and student accommodation would not fit in with the area, with the site being more suitable for family housing. There were also some fears about possible anti social behaviour and loss of privacy for people living nearby.
Maple Grove has said the flats could be used by University of York and York St John University students as both were close to the site.
A report by planning officer Victoria Bell said: “The proposed development will regenerate the area and add to the vitality and viability of this part of the city-centre.
“There are about 20,000 students attending full-time courses in York. While a certain percentage of students will, at some point, want to be in private accommodation, there is clearly a demand in the market for the type of accommodation proposed.”
The report also said that if this demand changed in the future, the buildings could easily be converted or adapted to provide non-student flats.
The design would improve the appearance of Hallfield Road and would not be too dominant. The scheme would also have a cycle block and ten car-parking spaces.