NO more PBSA (purpose built student accommodation) in St James!

Already saturated with high numbers of temporary student residents, the Trust will continue to defend our statutory Neighbourhood Plan’s vision of a balanced and vibrant community whenever planning applications threaten to worsen the existing severe community imbalance. A recent application for the development of yet another PBSA in the back garden of 47 Union Road, itself a 13 bed house in Multiple Occupation, was robustly opposed with over 60 residents submitting objections. Thankfully, with the support of our city councillors, the application was refused.

Now another! This time a revised application to convert the old Maximum Motors site in Howell Road into a 26 bed PBSA and, worryingly, a planning officer has confirmed “the principle of purpose built student accommodation in this area is considered acceptable”. This is contrary to Policy H5(b) of the Exeter Local Plan First Review 1995-2011 which makes clear the use of the site for student housing would not be appropriate here as it would result in a further imbalance of population within the local community.

26 bed PBSA proposed here

Significantly it shows a complete disregard for a key policy of the Neighbourhood Plan:

Policy C2: Large Scale Purpose Built Student Accommodation

Large scale purpose built student accommodation will be permitted in areas where it can be properly integrated into the urban area. This means locations:

(a) that are not predominantly characterised by intact streets of traditional terraced, semi-detached and detached forms of 2-3 storey residential development;

(b) where the servicing and parking requirements could be achieved with no unacceptable impact on the amenity of the adjacent area for residents;

(c) where the scale and massing of any purpose built accommodation would be broadly similar to that of the surrounding buildings.

The Council’s deadline for submission of comments has now passed but many local residents concerned that such proposals threaten the sustainability of our community have submitted objections. You can read the Trust’s formal submission here.