RESIDENTS and students living in Leamington’s Old Town are at loggerheads again over plans for further flats in the area.
Developers The Planning Group have submitted an application to build a student block on the former Priors Club site on Tower Street, next to the site of a current development of more than 180 students flats.
But the controversial proposal – which would see 26 flats and six car parking spaces built on the former social club site– has resulted in a vicious war of words, with residents calling the area a ‘student ghetto’ and students saying there is an ‘anti-youth brigade’ against them.
Resident Barbara Crowther said: “South Leamington cannot accommodate any more students without serious detriment to community relations and the already compromised quality of life for longer term residents.
“The students are being offered rooms scarcely bigger than prison cells, and nowhere to meet socially. This will make parties in local residential areas more likely. Already residents in nearby streets have to deal with rowdy behaviour, drunkenness and the detritus of take-away food during weekends in term time.”
Such concerns have been echoed by other residents who say the area is becoming a “student ghetto” with little regard for those who live there permanently.
But Adam Williams, a student living in Old Town, hit back claiming people were misinformed about the impact students had on the area.
He said: “It’s clear additional accommodation is necessary as the student population grows. Increasing provisions in Leamington can only help the local shops and businesses in the area.
“Regarding noise, in my experience it’s been the middle-aged local residents who have generated the most noise after leaving the local pubs and other venues, but that’s life and I put up with it because I appreciate I’m a guest here and am grateful I have somewhere to live.
“I promise you we don’t all go out drinking every night, returning at 3am and waking up everyone. I personally don’t drink at all and I know there are other students with similar attitudes. Please stop tarring us with the same brush.”
Thousands of students attending the University of Warwick live in Leamington during term time – the majority in the Old Town area. It is estimated students from the university are worth £80million annually to Leamington’s economy.
In 2012 Station House was built opposite the railway station providing purpose-built accommodation for some 400 students.
And work is underway to build 187 flats alongside the Grand Union Canal just off Clemens Street, alongside Althorpe Enterprise Hub and Waterside Medical Centre.