Plans have been approved for the THIRD time to build 356 student flats in a busy part of Northampton.
West Northamptonshire Council approved plans to build the accommodation in Kingsthorpe.
The scheme will see the former Bective Works on Bective Road and Yelvertoft Road partly demolished, and will also utilise a partially derelict Grade II listed building – the former Abraham Lee shoe factory – as a new retail and student hub unit.
Planning papers say the site will have a basement car park with 36 parking spaces, which has been the main cause for objections over the years.
In May 2020, these plans were approved by the now defunct Northampton Borough Council despite objections the scheme will bring even more parking and traffic issues to the area.
The former council then reversed its decision and asked the applicant to insert a clause in students’ tenancy agreements that banned them from bringing cars to university. That scheme was then approved for the second time.
But the scheme came back before councillors in November 2020 after the council was told such a planning condition was illegal due to a 2017 Court of Appeal decision.
Instead of the parking clause, the former county council’s highways team asked the applicants, U3 Developments Ltd, to contribute to a bike scheme in the town, which it is hoped students will use instead.
Now, once again, the scheme has been given the go-ahead.
Kingsthorpe councillor Sally Beardsworth has been contacted for comment.
The Liberal Democrat councillor previously told Chronicle & Echo that the idea students will not bring cars to the area was “ridiculous”.
Back in 2020, councillor Sally Beardsworth said: “I have dealt with student accommodation all my life as a councillor and I can assure you they promise you the earth and deliver very little with regards to noise, parties and parking.
"The idea that people will not bring cars to this area is ridiculous. Students will be given cars by their parents or grandparents and will park them in the adjoining streets, which are already over congested now. I cannot believe the highways department has not put in a complaint about this."
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that the decision to approve had been taken by the planning committee. We have been asked to clarify that this was not the case. We are happy to correct the article and apologise for the error.