Leamington firm denies replacing its offices with flats will create ‘student ghetto’
PART of south Leamington risks becoming a “student ghetto” if a block of 72 flats is built.
So say residents after Leamington building firm AC Lloyd applied for permission to demolish its headquarters in Chapel Street and replace it with purpose-built student flats.
More than 30 neighbours in streets nearby have objected to the plans, which include a three-storey block in Chapel Street and two-storey houses off Clinton Street.
Russell Terrace resident David Kelly said there were already 1,500 student homes in Leamington, adding: “Any more will change the area into a student ghetto or a wasteland.”
Mr Kelly said he would prefer to see the site used for sheltered or social housing, and said he was surprised by AC Lloyd’s application.
Conservation group the Leamington Society says many living in Old Town have found themselves surrounded by “transient” young adults and bereft of real neighbours.
A Warwick District Council report in 2011 said 14.6 per cent of homes in Leamington were rented, compared with a national average of seven per cent. Of 1,567 shared houses in the district - almost 80 per cent of them student homes - more than 90 per cent were in Leamington.
The district council’s own conservation officials have asked to inspect the building to be demolished, saying part of it may be the original workshop used by the jet engine’s inventor Sir Frank Whittle, who grew up in Leamington.
The AC Lloyd offices were built in the 1960s but refaced in the 1990s. AC Lloyd Asset Management director Des Wynne said the firm would be moving out of its almost empty offices in Chapel Street to more suitable premises in Tachbrook Park industrial estate.
He described the fear of a student ghetto as “unfair”, and said the site was unsuitable for normal homes.
Mr Wynne said many concerns related to uncontrolled conversion of traditional housing into shared houses, but argued the purpose-built flats, likely to be owned and run by AC Lloyd, would have adequate noise insulation, bin storage and more parking than requested by the district council officials or identified in the firm’s own survey.
He added: “I don’t think it’s fair to paint students as a negative element. Students get a bad press but they do contribute to the area. From talking to local shopkeepers, they are an important part of their business.
“We think there is a need for student housing, the university says there is a need. There is a need for social housing but we felt this was the best use for this particular site.”
- Conservatives lose overall control of Warwickshire County Council but no coalition planned
- Lions hail Southam fete ‘best ever’
- Outstanding production at Leamington’s Loft is full of warmth and humour
- 209 homes plan near Leamington will now go ahead
- Warwick youth theatre group’s magical play keeps audience spellbound
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Leamington
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 23 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North east