MORE student flats are to be built alongside the canal in Leamington Old Town.
An application for a four-storey building on Wise Street, providing accommodation for some 200 students, had been rejected by Warwick District Council’s planning committee.
But following an appeal, the government’s planning inspector gave developers Delta Planning the go-ahead.
It means office buildings on the Mercia Metals yard will now be demolished along with those on neighbouring Simlick Floors, and replaced by the development consisting of flats with up to eight bedrooms each.
The news has been met with ‘disappointment’ by Brunswick ward district councillor Kristie Naimo.
She said: “I’m really disappointed in this decision as it’s not in the best interest of the south Leamington community – even the planning committee agreed with us on this one.
“This demonstrates even more why we need to strengthen and apply our policies which are about avoiding over concentration of student housing in areas such as south Leamington.”
A number of objectors argued the development breached Warwick District Council’s policy on the level of HMOs (Housing in Multiple Occupancy) within a 100 metre area.
And the inspector agreed, saying instead of the ten per cent limit it was closer to 40.
Other concerns raised included traffic, parking, noise and rubbish issues.
But inspector Alexander Walker said overall the pros outweighed the cons and the flats would improve the area, which was already home to a number of student developments.
Thousands of students attending the University of Warwick live in Leamington during term time and a considerable number in the Old Town area.
In 2012 Station House was built opposite the railway station providing purpose-built accommodation for some 400 students, and The Union on Althorpe Street, just along from the newly granted flats, is home to nearly 200 students.
Mr Walker said: “The proposal is a well-designed scheme which addresses the constraints of the site and relates well to its canal side context. Furthermore, it would be a considerable increase to the quality of the existing visual amenity of the site.
“Consequently, it would not significantly harm the character and appearance of the area, which, among other things, seeks to ensure that development positively contributes to the character and quality of its environment.”