Plan to lease student accommodation over summer refused as planners say 'not in spirit'

A Coventry student block will not be allowed to rent 300 of its rooms to non-students over the summer. The city council refused plans for the Oaks in Westwood yesterday, June 27.

The 378-room purpose built student accommodation opened four years ago. But the building is largely empty from June to August, a letter with plans said.

Most students leave when term ends in May. The only other groups currently allowed to stay over the summer are limited to those involved in education such as visiting academics and people going to conferences.

READ MORE: Huge Coventry student accommodation seeking new use in summer months

Applicants Roost Propco 3 Limited want to boost the site's "commercial viability," said the letter by agents Gerald Eve LLP. The short-term rentals would be aimed at families, couples and organisational group bookings.

It would "actively deter" bookings for large weekend groups like stag and hen dos, the letter added. They claimed the move would have "clear benefits" including supporting jobs, city events and other groups.

But a Coventry City Council report found a "number of arising issues" with the plans. It said people renting the rooms would likely be using cars, sparking a high demand at this time that cannot be housed at the site.

The report also pointed out that the scheme to build the block was based around the idea that it would have a "close relationship with the university." It involved improving the campus's facilities and links.

But those staying at the site would likely go to other centres which have not had these upgrades. It means there would be a large impact on local roads, the officer report said.

It also claimed shared areas of the block could be "undermined" by the move, pointing out that some students who use these include teenagers age 15-19.

They concluded that the bid to vary the scheme's condition "is not within the spirit or parameters of the original planning consent for student accommodation."

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