RESIDENTS have expressed alarm about the effect a further influx of student housing would have on a corner of the city.
The Southern Gateway Residents’ Association, which represents people living in the Stockbridge area of Chichester, has spoken out against plans to turn an Edwardian building into accommodation for another 88 students on the former Chichester High School for Girls site in Stockbridge Road.
The accommodation would be for students at the University of Chichester. This is on top of the 321 flats currently being built in four blocks immediately south of this building for Chichester College, bringing the total number of students on the site to 409.
Work includes alteration and extension and converting the space into 18 flats, complete with shared facilities. An extra floor would also be created.
Chairman of the residents’ association Alan Green said this was a significant increase and would cause a demographic imbalance.
“This represents an increase in population of 90 per cent and makes for an imbalance in the mix of housing, leading to the inevitable stresses arising from the very different lifestyles of students, those of more mature years and those with young families.”
Mr Green said the major issue was of the disturbance a student population would cause in a residential area late at night after pubs and bars had closed.
“The night-time economy gives scope for a steady stream of noisy student revellers until well into the early hours of the morning, and even if the Thursdays bus drops students off outside the gate, there will be noise as the revellers disembark.
“The problems with disturbance, anti-social behaviour and demographic imbalance that high densities of student population can cause in residential areas are well known in other university towns such as Southampton where the acute problem is known as ‘studentification’”
The plans include parking spaces for eight cars – including two disabled spaces – and four motorcycles. The Seaman Partnership, which is in charge of the development, said as the site was close to the city and college facilities, the need for private car use was vastly reduced because students cycle or walk. It was also close to bus routes.
But the association said it was ‘highly unlikely’ a population of 88 students would only have eight cars and four motorbikes, especially since the university campus was situated two kilometres away. It said existing parking problems would be exacerbated.
Proposals submitted said the scheme would help save the deteriorating Edwardian building, but the Chichester Society said it would not succeed in preserving it as a historic asset as the appearance would be drastically altered.
The Seaman Partnership said the scheme would support the university and would be of a high quality.