More student flats will be added to major Kenilworth development after council approval

An artist's impression of what the finished building could look like
An artist's impression of what the finished building could look like
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Plans to add more student flats to an already controversial development in Talisman square have been approved by councillors.

Developers Cobalt Estates, on behalf of Discovery Properties, originally received permission from Warwick District Council to build a five-storey building with 65 flats housing 105 bedrooms, along with five new shops, in December 2016.

This initial plan was not supported by any district councillor a representing Kenilworth ward. Planning chairman Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s) said the plan was ‘greedy’.

But, after talks with Warwick University, developers wanted to increase the number of flats to 121, reduce the storage area for the shops, and increase the height of the building.

The plans were objected to by Kenilworth Town Council, as well as several nearby residents.

Lesley Plant of Angless Way said: “The original is already an appalling massive block that is entirely out of keeping with the character of Kenilworth, and this amendment has not alleviated any of the issues.

“The retail areas, which are the only bit of this development that actually has any positive possibility for the town, have been reduced in size, and several now have no storage areas.”

And Dr Catherine Dallaway of Waverley Road said: “There is considerable loss of light for the shops on all sides of the development who will now exist in a gloomy corridor with a large imposing building.”

But Warwick District Council’s planning committee approved the changes at a planning meeting on Wednesday January 10.

Speaking before councillors debated the plans, Cllr George Illingworth on behalf of Kenilworth Town Council took issue with the developer’s view that the changes were ‘minor’.

He added: “This is the final straw. We can no longer accept it.”

However, district council officers had recommended the changes be approved.

In their report, council officers said: “It is not considered that the proposed amendment to add 14 further student bedrooms to the development would now create a harmful over-concentration of student accommodation.”

While the planning committee agreed with the officer’s report and voted the plans through, it also said the conditions of the first plan that Cobalt Estates was supposed to follow should be transferred to this plan.

If this is not sorted out by Tuesday February 6, planning permission will be refused.