A NEW student community close to York city centre is set for approval - despite opposition locally.

The move would see the former Mecca bingo hall site in Fishergate demolished and replaced with 276 student flats.

A report prepared by City of York Council says nearby residents and ward councillor Dave Taylor believe the scheme will be too overbearing for the area and there is no need for so much student accommodation.

The planning committee at City of York Council is due to determine the application from Petrina and Grantside (North Star West) on Thursday this week.

The bingo hall, which closed in March this year, dates back to 2002, and is at the south of the site.

To reflect the site’s heritage, the new building will be named Rialto House after the cinema that was demolished to make way for the bingo hall.

A report prepared by council planning staff says a mix of cluster flats and studios would provide 276 student rooms.

There would also be ground floor communal facilities in the wing fronting Fishergate, with two landscaped courtyard areas.

It continued: “The scheme is four-storey but designed to appear as three-storey with the top floor concealed behind pitched roofs and projecting front gables.

“The initial cycle parking provision, of around 65 per cent is reasonable and compares to similar student accommodation schemes.”

The report said York Civic Trust was “generally supportive” of the design but the cycle parking was “unduly prominent".

The council received 46 comments from the public, with one in support.

People branded the scheme “over-bearing and overlooking due to the scale of the building and its proximity to neighbouring houses and gardens”.

They also said the flats would look “stark and out of context” and claimed they were an “overdevelopment of the site.”

They doubted the need for student accommodation, preferring market housing, saying extra student accommodation should be on campus.

Opponents also feared noise from the students, saying their “transient nature” would “detract from the local community.”

No on-site management is proposed to control their behaviour, the documents say.

Fishergate councillor Dave Taylor agreed, saying he was concerned “there may be too much student accommodation built in Fishergate Ward and this development might not be viable".

“More needs to be done to reduce overlooking of neighbours and their gardens,” he also said.

But council planning staff concluded the development would better respect the local character than its current use.

Recommending approval, they added: “There would be no undue effect on neighbours’ amenity and adequate amenities for future occupants.

“Technical matters can be addressed, to achieve policy compliance, through conditions in respect of sustainable design and construction, biodiversity, drainage, archaeology, the highway network and ground conditions and pollution.”