Council branded "unreasonable" over foreign student flats - and you get the bill (From Bournemouth Echo)
When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Bournemouth Council told to pick up bill over Malmesbury Park Road flats
A PLANNING inspector has branded Bournemouth Council “unreasonable” and told the local authority to pick up the bill for costs after opposing plans for a student housing development.
Following protests from local residents and councillors, the borough’s planning board refused to remove a restrictive condition insisting that study bedrooms at the Malmesbury Park Road block could only be occupied by foreign students from the Kings School of English.
Queen’s Park councillor Carol Ainge insisted the distinction meant a great deal to residents, warning that if the restrictive condition was removed there would be “repercussions for local residents for years to come.”
Cllr Mark Anderson also opposed the removal of the proviso, stating that he was “appalled” by the conditions the development would create.
The application to remove the condition was made by Malmesbury Estates who later lodged an appeal.
Announcing his decision, planning inspector Michael Champion said: “I am not persuaded that the submitted evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that foreign students would have a significantly different impact from that of native students, on either the character and appearance of the area, or on the living conditions of neighbouring and future residents.”
However, he imposed a condition limiting the use of the building to warden-managed residential accommodation for students.
Awarding full costs to Malmesbury Estates, he concluded that the council had “acted unreasonably in refusing the application without adequate supporting evidence or reasons”.
A spokesman for the developer said: “We have sought to work with local residents and councillors throughout the planning process.
“We were extremely disappointed that Councillors Ainge and Anderson refused to communicate with us from the outset.”
The council’s principal planning officer Barry Carse said: “When the application was originally approved, we imposed a condition stating that the accommodation should be for foreign students attending Kings School of English only.
“This was due to issues around parking in the area and the development’s limited outside amenity space.”