THIRTY seven new student bedrooms could be built in a town centre multi-storey car park under new plans submitted to Bournemouth council.
The owners of the Glen Fern Road car park want to convert the fifth floor into student accommodation.
But town centre councillors have criticised the plans, saying students ‘deserve better’ than having to live in a converted car park.
The sixth floor and part of the fifth are already used to house students, with 19 bedrooms on the fifth floor and 73 on the sixth.
Owners Glenfern Investment say the fifth floor is rarely used by motorists and would work better as additional student accommodation. A similar application to convert the entire fifth floor was refused in July 2012 because it would reduce the number of parking spaces in the town centre.
This time, they are promising to create extra car parking spaces, primarily on the first floor, to ensure there is no loss of spaces.
Cllr David Smith, who represents the Central ward, said: “As ward councillors we are not supportive of more student accommodation in this location.
“Students deserve a better living environment than having to live on the fifth floor of a converted car park.
“This part of town is in desperate need of redevelopment as the car park and its grounds are unsightly and unattractive.
“It would be far better to demolish the whole car park and work with the council for a more comprehensive development of the whole site.” Glenfern Investment’s planning application states the accommodation was popular with students and there were currently no vacancies in the building.
It added: “The proposed student accommodation use of the fifth floor of the MSCP will ensure that the building remains in use and guarantees an increase in the number of visitors to the area who, in turn, provide surveillance.
“The proposal would have a positive impact on the safety and security of the local area.”