ANGRY residents have hit out at plans for a £30million ‘mega block’ of student flats in Leamington.
A group of businesses have teamed up to create Althorpe Street Developments after expressing concern about the future of the area off Radford Road and adjoining the canal.
If given the green light the work will see the creation of a 270 room student block and employment space creating up to 50 new jobs.
The canalside development would be based opposite Rangemaster – between the railway bridge and footbridge, and would be just along from The Union student accommodation, which has 187 bedrooms and was built around two years ago.
But South Leamington Area Residents group (Solar) say the area does not need more student accommodation and the plans are just a ‘money-making’ scheme.
A spokesman for the group told the Observer: “Developers say this is about ‘regeneration’ when it’s really about making money from the lucrative student market, especially overseas students.
“The last thing this part of south Leamington needs is another student mega-block. Leamington’s canalside has so much potential, this is not the answer.
“If these developers really want to regenerate the Althorpe estate and do something for the local community, it’s not too late for them to dump their student mega-block scheme and instead propose something which invests in small local employers and offers affordable housing for local people, especially young people struggling to get on the housing ladder.
“That’s something we could all really get behind.”
The application was developed by Leamington company Rickett Architects following a public consultation which was attended by thousands of residents.
Spokesman Charles Robinson said: “The public consultation gave us the opportunity to really gauge the concerns of local residents. Their ideas and input have provided a valuable insight as to the needs of the community which we have endeavoured to address with this final planning application.
“We want to build a vibrant community to bring positivity and creative minds to Leamington.”
Before the public consultation developers said they had ‘worked closely’ with Warwick District Council – something which south Leamington councillor Kristie Naimo says she was concerned about.
She told the Observer the land had been earmarked as employment space in the local plan – which shapes the future of the district until 2029.
She said: “It’s misleading to say the proposals have been worked on with Warwick District Council. They are fully aware the Althorpe Street Industrial Estate is allocated as employment land within the local plan.”
The plans have now been submitted to the council for consideration.
Visit althorpedevelopments.co.uk to find out more.