Academia is set to go into the bed and breakfast business in an ‘iconic’ Chichester building, following a decision by district councillors.
The southern area development control committee agreed that the Edwardian property, which already has consent to be converted into accommodation for 88 students from the University of Chichester, can also be used for both summer courses and B and B outside term-time.
Twelve of the units will be available on the open market for anyone to stay in.
The building is at the former Chichester High School site, in Stockbridge Road.
Committee members decided that - subject to the completion of a formal legal agreement - one of the planning conditions attached to the earlier consent precluding B and B use should be removed.
They also approved an application to vary the consent to allow alterations to the fenestration of the building, and changes to a rear extension and cycle and vehicle parking.
The committee was told the building was not listed, although it was on the council’s ‘local list.’
Some local objectors complained about overdevelopment and increased noise, and the council’s own historic buildings advisor objected to the proposed window alterations.
But planning officers recommended approval. They said the changes proposed for the approved scheme still received ‘broad support’ from all tiers of planning policy Cllr Tony Dignum said it would be enormously valuable to the community to have people in purpose-built student accommodation, rather than creating more houses in multiple occupation in residential streets.
The proposed changes would not have any impact on the environment compared with the application already approved.
But Cllr Tricia Tull said that while this was a perfect place for student accommodation, she was really unhappy with the amount of alteration needed to the building.
Chairman Cllr Peter Clementson said this was an iconic building, close to the hearts of many Cicestrians, a lot of whom went to school there.
The scheme brought the building into a practical use, and made it viable to alter it.
“It will be an expensive alteration in any case,” he added.
“If this is not done, I fear we would lose the whole building, which would be a loss to Chichester and a loss to the ambitions of the university and the college for housing their students.”