New York student apartment projects include a ‘pocket park’

THE developer behind a controversial proposal for student flats in York has again submitted plans including fewer flats and a ‘pocket park’.

York City Council’s planning committee last month rejected plans for 319 student flats at the Alton Cars site in James Street, despite planning staff recommending approval.

Councilors agreed with nearby residents saying the project was ‘overdeveloped’ and the council needed a cohesive plan for such projects.

But now York-based S Harrison says he has ‘made several major changes’ to his resubmitted plans after addressing those ‘concerns’.

The plans, if approved, will replace an old industrial unit with “a modern, energy efficient new development for the city’s burgeoning student population”.

There would be 231 study rooms in cluster apartments, all with their own communal kitchens, living areas and dining areas, as well as 72 studios.

All students would also benefit from a large central common area offering study space, games room, cinema, gym and laundry facilities. The site’s central location means it will be almost entirely car-free and a large bike shop will also be incorporated into the scheme.

Changes in the latest plans include wider access along the eastern boundary of the site to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians and the building having a ‘significantly’ smaller ‘footprint’, reducing the number of apartments by 16 at 303, allowing for the creation of a 200 square meter “public pocket park” at the southern boundary of the site and visible from Lawrence Street.

S Harrison development director Gavin Douglas said the plans gave a bedroom size 25 per cent larger than council guidelines, met national standards for space and were the same or larger larger than any of the recently approved student accommodation programs in York. Plans also include “generous” internal and external amenity space.

Mr Douglas added that the most recent data for the 2019/20 academic year shows that student numbers in York are growing at a faster rate than expected, putting greater demand on existing student accommodation.

York Universities aspires to increase from 14,000 to 41,335 student places by 2030, and purpose-built student housing schemes (PBSA) are covering the majority of this increase, enough to house half of the 2019/20 student population , leaving the other half in unmanaged housing, rental properties, including HMOs.

Demand exceeded supply and this scheme housing 303 students would ‘save’ 75 private homes from student accommodation, help free up local homes on York’s residential property market or delay the conversion of more family homes in student accommodation.

Mr Douglas concluded: ‘As stated by the Case Office in the Planning Committee’s initial report, there is a clear trend to re-use former industrial land in the Walmgate, Lawrence Street and Layerthorpe areas for residential purposes. and female students, which has been beneficial for regeneration. and downtown vitality and viability. We hope that the committee will recognize the merits of our plans and the significant changes we have made to our proposals.

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