Concerns raised over plans for student accommodation

An artist's impression of student accommodation planned for Fishbourne Road SUS-160617-163446001
An artist's impression of student accommodation planned for Fishbourne Road SUS-160617-163446001

Residents who claimed plans for student accommodation would ‘severely degrade’ their quality of life lost their battle to have the proposal thrown out.

A two-block, 134-bedroom facility for University of Chichester students will be built next to Tesco petrol station, in Fishbourne Road, Chichester.

Permission was granted by Chichester District Council’s planning committee on Friday, despite objections over the mass of the development and concerns over antisocial behaviour, safety and parking.

“This is a very quiet neighbourhood,” said Julia Hixson, chairman of Dolphin Mews Residents’ Association.

“Our quality of life will severely be degraded by noise.”

Objectors included Chichester West councillor and Clare Apel and councillor Lesley Hixson, who withdrew from the committee to voice his concerns.

He compared the design to a ‘prison block, said student wellbeing would be compromised because of a lack of outside space and questioned the need for additional student accommodation.

Agent James Gillespie, of Gilltown Planning, said the facility would be managed 24/7, with paid mature students providing out of hours security.

In response to parking fears, he said the facility would be car-free, with students banned from bringing their vehicles to university.

Councillors expressed doubt over the durability of the proposed building materials, while Midhurst’s Gordon McAra was unhappy about the management arrangements, calling for more robust out of hours arrangements.

The committee approved the plans by a majority of seven votes to six, with one abstention.

A condition outlining the materials to be used – and negotations over the facility’s management – will go back to the committee.