Councillors object to student accommodation that 'looks like a prison block'

Bognor Regis Town Council's planning committee objected to plans for 176 bedrooms for student accommodation.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:19 am
An artist representation of the block

Councillors objected to the the plans put forward by the University of Chichester for the Bognor campus at a meeting on Tuesday.

The first of three phases, the university plans for a total of 350 rooms if the first phase gets the go-ahead from Arun District Council.

Part of the application stated the five-storey building ‘may affect’ the setting of listed buildings and affect the character and appearance of Upper Bognor Road, Mead Lane conservation area and is ‘a departure from the development plan’.

Jeannette Warr, Lib Dem, called the design ‘horrible’ and said it ‘looks like a prison block’.

Councillor Steve Goodheart, Independent, said: “They look like something on the eastern block of the communist state.”

Another issue that arose from the university’s plan was that while students were allowed to drive, they would not be permitted to use the parking facilities set out in the designs.

Councillor Goodheart said: “Really we should be looking at them to build a new park and ride. What we are very much aware of is a lack of facilities for students to use.

“What Bognor needs is some form of alternative parking system, we should seriously be looking at a park and ride. It is something that we should be working with Arun and county with to implement.”

Matt Stanley, Lib Dem, said: “I’m not against the idea of [a park and ride scheme], I just don’t think it will help the situation.

“It is pointless having a university and all the students living in Chichester.”

Councillor Warr said: “We welcome the university and the students in it is a great boost in many ways, but what we don’t like is the way that is really spoiling the character of the area.”

Councillor Sandra Daniells gave her reason for objecting: “If we object, at least when it goes to Arun it might trigger some debate over there.

“It’s about the impact on the environment and it is about the appearance, not the need.”

A decision is due on the plans from Arun District Council by February 28 and public comments are due by January 13. For more information see application number BR/311/18.