PLANNERS are backing revised plans for 303 student flats on the edge of York city centre.

Councillors meet next week to determine the application for a 3-5 storey building on the site of the former Alton Cars in James Street, after they refused a 319-bed scheme in February.

The Planning Committee of City of York Council refused the scheme from S Harrison Developments saying it would be ‘over-development’ of the site, which would have an ‘undue adverse impact’ on neighbours.

The building would be ‘over-bearing and over-dominant and unduly imposing’ on its setting, it said. There would also not be enough amenity for its residents due to the ‘inadequate amount of floorspace within the student bedrooms.’

Now, revised plans to come before planning committee next Thursday propose 231 study bedrooms bedrooms (in clusters of up to 8 with shared living/dining areas) and 72 individual studio rooms.

If approved, the 3-5 storey building would contain communal areas at ground floor- up to 277m2 and over 1,100m2 of soft landscaped areas, including a public park on the site's south-east corner.

Amendments have been made to address the reasons for refusal, says a council report prepared for the meeting.

They include the open space at the south-east corner of the site- and prominent along James Street- plus using a strip of land along James Street to become adopted highway, and allowing a wide shared path for pedestrians and cyclists.

The room sizes were comparable with other approved schemes and by removing development from the south-eastern corner, reduced the footprint of the building.

The report by council planning staff said the Guildhall Planning Panel welcome the small park but said the building was too high and still ‘overdevelopment.’

York Civic Trust also welcomed the ‘pocket park’ noting the scheme was a better designed than other recent student flat schemes proposed for York.

But the trust could not support current plans due to ‘shortcomings in the design, choice of materials, and internal layout of the scheme.’

The report concluded that planning officers are ‘content’ that amendments made to the application address the reasons for the refusal of the previous application.

The public amenity space, the junction improvements and wider access would make the area more attractive and pedestrian-friendly, it said. The development would also provide enough amenity for its future residents due to room sizes and other amenities.

The report added: “The proposed development ranges in height from 3-5 storey. This building scale is comparable to the development to the west and would not be excessive in this location. There is no harm to the setting of the Central Historic Core Conservation Area.”