MP welcomes decision to turn down student housing planning appeal
Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham, has today welcomed the decision by Planning Inspectors to reject the appeal to turn the Kingslodge Hotel in Durham City into rooms for 57 students.
The original planning application for the 21 bedroom hotel, located on Waddington Street in Durham City, was refused by Durham County Council planners, but this decision was appealed by the applicant. In his report backing up the Council's case for refusal, the Planning Inspector highlighted the cumulative harm that would be caused to the area, and the amenity and quality of life of local residents should further concentration of student accommodation be allowed.
The Planning Inspector said "...the National Planning Policy Framework...seeks the creation of sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities, through choice in housing development. In a situation where the Viaduct area of Durham is already heavily skewed to the provision of student accommodation, allowing the conversion of the Kingslodge hotel...would do nothing to achieve a sustainable, inclusive and mixed community."
"I am so pleased that the Planning Inspector has identified the important issue of the cumulative effect multiple planning applications for student housing is having on the City of Durham, and has confirmed that it is possible for Durham County Council to turn down applications of this nature on the strength of existing policies. It is clear however, that most residents would prefer to see a stronger policy for student housing developed by the local authority that would prevent unsuitable or inappropriate applications coming forward in the first place.
I and many residents are not opposed to Purpose Built Student Accommodation, but it has to be of the right scale and quality to play an important role in the mix of housing within Durham City. Unfortunately a number of schemes have come forward recently, some of which have been approved, which are inappropriate for our historic and compact city centre. These include applications that are in the wrong location and which are of a totally unsuitable size, scale and massing. I therefore hope the local authority will take note of the Inspector's comments in this report when determining future applications and in the writing of a new Policy 32, which I hope they will produce as soon as possible."