Buildings set to be converted into “much-needed” student flats

The Franciscan Study Centre in Giles Lane, Canterbury

The Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury’s Giles Lane is set to be converted into student flats.

Sitting on land next to the University of Kent, the site would be redeveloped to contain 172 bedrooms.

It would comprise three two- and three-storey blocks close to the University Medical Centre.

The application by the Canterbury Franciscans goes before the city council’s planning committee next week.

Blean Parish Council supports the proposal, saying it provides “much-needed student accommodation” which would relieve the pressure on housing stock for permanent residents.

The St Michael’s Road Area Residents’ Association (SMRARA) is also backing the application.

A report going before city council planners states: “[SMRARA is] in support of the location of the proposed development close to the university boundary, it being a car-free scheme, the provision of cycle parking, the inclusion of a management plan against anti-social behaviour and its impact on the view of the ridge-line from the city.”

One letter of objection was received from a critic who complains the development will worsen light pollution and create “dust and noise during construction”.

Canterbury City Council agrees that more student accommodation will help “reduce the pressure on the housing market and release family sized homes for occupation by families”.

And in its report it addresses concerns that purpose-built student accommodation is going under-used.

It states: “In relation to the potential vacancy rates of existing student accommodation in the city, the council’s housing strategy sets out that as of September 2017 even if all permitted and planned student accommodation was developed this would only provide for 60% of students in need of accommodation and as such there is still considered to be a continuing need for such accommodation.”

The planning committee meets in the Guildhall at 6.30pm on Tuesday July 24. The meeting is open to the public.


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